This message is for everyone who doesn’t have a BIG message, a BIG talent, a BIG idea or a BIG stage—today. It’s for folks who have a dream, a vision or desire, but don’t pursue it because they think of themselves as limited, powerless, or inconsequential.
Maybe they’ve even listened to an inner voice saying, “Who do you think you are?”
From an acorn to mighty oak or a baby in Bethlehem to King of Kings, great things come from small beginnings. The voice of discouragement you hear is one of deceit. God created you to dream dreams, see visions, and to achieve.
“Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many…”
William Bradford: Bradford—Of Plymouth plantation
The Cost of Fear
Many dreamers or visionaries fall by the wayside because they don’t understand the process, collapsing under the weight of fear more than being crushed by failure.
In 2018, hydroelectric projects worldwide generated 4,200 TW (terrawatt hours) of electricity. In 2019, the average American household used 10,927 kWh (kilowatt hours) of energy annually.
Water produced enough energy to serve more than 380 million households for an entire year. That doesn’t include energy requirements for public and industrial use, but proves that water is a mighty force.
From Potential to Powerful
Now, imagine that you’re picnicking at a park just upstream from the largest hydroelectric plant in the world and need a little water for wash up. The day is sunny, a perfect 72-degrees with a slight onshore breeze, thick deli sandwiches and fresh fruit hit your hungry spot perfectly, and your family and Buzz, the Golden Retriever, were perfect companions.
Preparing to head for home, you and the pooch walk to the river bank, fill your bucket with water, give Buzz first dibs, and then tote it back.
How much energy does your bucket of water produce? Can you charge your cell phone with it? Jump start a measly 12-volt car battery?
Yet the same water produces massive amounts of electricity just a short skip downriver. What’s wrong with your water? Was it shorted by the bucket?
Transforming Small Beginnings
Massive impact comes from small beginnings. Water must be harnessed, organized, and funneled through a system to transform potential power into world-changing energy.
Water doesn’t dream, see visions, or desire to be more than what it is today. Yet it has the potential to become so powerful that I had to ask my mathematician husband to dust off his scientific calculator to translate kilowatts to terrawatts and energy to households. The numbers we worked with were too ginormous for regular devices.
Do you know what you call a dream without doing? Fantasy.
Visions left to die on the vine may make a quick snack, but like your bucket of wash water, no wine is produced or potential realized. Small stays small and the opportunity passes.
Dreaming with Purpose—Edwin C. Barnes
Edwin C. Barnes had a burning desire to partner with America’s famed inventor, Thomas Edison. He had a specific vision, a describable desire, and a fixed destination.
But he didn’t have an invention, lacked special skills, and couldn’t pull the fare from empty pockets to travel from Wisconsin to New Jersey. But in 1905, at age 27, he used freight trains to tramp his way east and wrangle an interview with Edison.
Upon meeting the young man, Edison wrote, “He stood there before me, looking like an ordinary tramp, but there was something in the expression of his face which conveyed the impression that he was determined to get what he had come after.”
Edison continued, “I had learned, from years of experience with men, that when a man really desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win. I gave him the opportunity he asked for, because I saw he had made up his mind to stand by until he succeeded. Subsequent events proved that no mistake was made.”
When Edison refused to take on the tramp as a partner, Barnes accepted the job of floor sweeper. He did the best work he could, studied Edison daily, and figured out what Edison needed that he didn’t already have.
DEDICATION TO SERVICE
Two years later, when others thought Edison’s voice recorder was silly, Barnes saw the potential and pitched a sales and marketing plan to the boss. Barnes continued to study every detail of production and service affecting the recorder. He solved problems, saw opportunities, and made things happen.
When Thomas Edison became his business partner, Barnes realized his impossible dream. Barnes knew how to motivate and focus others. Above all, he was dedicated to superior quality, service, and doing, not talking. Barnes became a self-made millionaire as a young man.
MASTERING THE WIN-WIN FORMULA
Edwin Barnes proves that real success is a win-win process. Edison’s “Proficiency Engineer” was a master at recognizing talent, assembling a winning team, energizing and directing his people, and offering service excellence to his customers.
That was his winning formula – both for himself and for everybody he met. Edwin C. Barnes (1877–1952) dreamed with purpose. The rest is history.
Never Forsake Small Beginnings
God doesn’t give dreams, visions, and power to you — He sends them through you. The dream, the vision, and the power is His.
We are like your bucket of water—small, and lacking the energy to transform the world on our own. But when harnessed, channeled, and combined with other small beginnings, dreams come true, visions are realized, and it’s impossible to miss the power generated.
Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.
Your Dream, Vision, and Purpose
Do you know God’s vision and purpose for you? What dream did you receive? Is it recent or showing some age?
Never forsake small beginnings. In the cosmic sense we’re all bit players, with a Creator/Director who writes the script, assigns roles, and supports us at every step, from casting to the final standing ovation.
Two phrases from The Lord’s Prayer define our purpose:
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
The combined bits of Holy Spirit in each of us join together like a powerful river, creating far more than the sum of our parts. Even on days when we feel less powerful than a drop of water, combined with the flood of Spirit around us, there is transformation beyond imagination.
- Specific vision?
- Describable desire?
- Fixed destination?
If you can’t answer today, remember a time when you had more clarity. Or, sit quietly with the Assigner of Visions and Dreams and ask. Where should I be today? Who crossed your path recently, or what caught your attention that you know you were supposed to notice?
No one else has your script or your role. You are not here by accident. God has a vision and purpose for you in such a time as this.
Information about Frank Barnes came from a variety of sources, most particularly this Rags to Riches article on Bridge to Strength.
Related post: Temptation Valley—Danger For the Weary
Another related post: Intimacy with God—The Power of Small Gestures
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