Genesis 37:19-20

The topic I want to address with you is “How to Make Your Dreams Come True.” And I will draw from the life of one ‘dreamer’ in the Bible by the name of Joseph. We read about him in Genesis 37:19-20 when his brothers see him coming and say, ” ‘Here comes that dreamer! . . . Come now, let’s . . . throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Obviously, dreamers aren’t always popular with their families or their friends because of jealousy.

In light of this phenomenon, dreamers find it easy to identify with Joseph. He was misunderstood. He was mistreated. He faced unfortunate circumstances. He prayed prayers that seemed to go unanswered. He did right only to suffer wrong.

Now at this stage of your lives, all of you have dreams, don’t you? I hope so. And I’m happy to tell you that based on the life of Joseph your dreams can come true. But dreams only come true by our taking advantage of the following means.

You see, DREAMS TAKE TIME TO COME TRUE. For example, Joseph waited thirteen years to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. He was only a “young man of seventeen,” when he was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:2). And he “was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Genesis 41:46).

David waited fifteen years to become the king of Judah. Most of this time was spent hiding from King Saul who wanted him dead because he was a rival to his throne.

In modern times, Martin Luther King, Jr. waited ten years to see his dream begin to come true with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Those years were filled with threats from without and hardships within the civil rights movement.

George Sanchez, a typical grandfather, tells of a time when his daughter and grandson had found a robin’s egg in the backyard. They made a nest out of cotton and placed the egg under a lamp in the house. Then they were going to wait until the egg hatched.

George’s daughter put a sign in front of the nest that read, “Shh, I’m happening!”

George thought, “How good it would be to wear a big sign around me that said, ‘I’m happening.’ Every time you looked at me you would say, ‘George is still happening – he’s not there yet, . . . ‘ And if you had your sign on, I would say the same about you.” Thus, waiting patiently is one very important way to make your dreams come true.

Not only do dreams take time to come true, but also DREAMS TAKE TESTS TO COME TRUE. Tests can come in various forms and fashions. Like what you might ask? Well unfortunately, a person may face cruelty. None other than his own brothers sold Joseph into slavery. The Bible says, “His brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28).

In the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the dark forces of Sauron threaten to take over Middle Earth. All hope for their land rests in the hands of two hobbits, a dwarf, an elf, and a man called Aragon.

After learning that an army of ruthless soldiers approaches the country of Rohan, Aragon finds the king’s daughter practicing with a gleaming sword. Unaware that Aragon is watching her, she wields the sword around like a veteran soldier. Suddenly Aragorn steps out of the shadows.

She says to him, “The women of Rohan have had to learn that just because you do not carry a sword does not mean you cannot die upon one. [But,] I fear neither death nor pain.”

Aragon then questions her, “What do you fear?”

“A cage,” she replies. “To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.” In a similar way, Joseph had to face his cruel fears and so may you.

A person may face seduction. His master’s wife propositioned Joseph. ” ‘Come to bed with me!’ ” she pleaded with him (Genesis 39:7). But he quickly responded, ” ‘How . . . could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ ” (Genesis 39:9). At other times, life simply distracts us and leads us down a side trail. In the former case, be sure that your sins will find you out. In the latter, make sure you keep your eyes upon your goal.

What else may happen? A person may face ingratitude. Joseph was forgotten by an acquaintance he’d aided in prison. When the chief cupbearer had opportunity to return Joseph’s favor, he “did not remember Joseph; he forgot him” (Genesis 40:23). In due course then, overcoming your tests ethically is another significant way to make your dreams come true.

Not only do dreams take time and tests to come true, but DREAMS TAKE TEAMWORK TO COME TRUE. Yes, other people play a significant role in whether your dreams come true or not. So what must dreamers do?

A dreamer must learn how to be faithful in spite of how others act. “Joseph had been taken down to Egypt,” the last place he ever wanted to go (Genesis 39:1). He couldn’t control how others treated him, but he could and he did control how he reacted to their treatment.

A dreamer must learn how to handle authority. “From the time [Potiphar] put [Joseph] in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (Genesis 39:5). Joseph never abused his authority for the sake of himself. Rather, he used his authority for the sake of others.

A dreamer must learn how to work with other people. “The warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison” (Genesis 39:22-23). And he was able to get along with those hardened criminals and callused guards.

In Sports Illustrated, Peter King writes, “The New England Patriots were a surprising success in the first half of the 2003-04 NFL season. Despite using eight rookies to replace injured veterans, the Patriots led the AFC Eastern division, with a 7-2 record. Part of their success is due to an unselfish mindset adopted by coaches and players alike. The vice president of player personnel, Scott Pioli, displays a sign in his office that summarizes it best. The sign reads, “WE ARE BUILDING A TEAM – NOT COLLECTING TALENT.” If you want to see your dreams come true, you’ll do the same thing. Consequently, becoming an effective team player is another vital way to make your dreams come true.

Not only do dreams take time, tests, and teamwork, but also DREAMS TAKE TRUST TO COME TRUE. This final means is the missing secret component for many would-be dreamers. And what is this secret of success? Trust in the presence of the Lord. Four times the Scriptures inform us that “the LORD was with Joseph” (Genesis 39:2-23). That’s the real reason why Joseph fared so well. Do you have a relationship with God like this?

The assurance of God’s care provides stability. After the whole ordeal was over and his father Jacob had died, Joseph’s brothers feared retaliation for what they’d done to Joseph. But instead, Joseph tells them quite frankly, ” ‘[While] you intended to harm me, . . . God intended it for good'” (Genesis 50:20). This statement serves as a motto of Joseph’s life. Joseph knew that God sent him to Egypt and would take care of him.

Next, the willingness to forgive is necessary. “‘So then,'” Joseph said to his brothers, “‘don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:21). People are going to let you down. After all, they’re only human. And without the willingness to forgive, dreams can become nightmares.

In the book, Sons: A Father’s Love, the author recounts the story of Scott who finally called home. He’d been on drugs for the longest time. His family hadn’t even heard from him for two years.

Then over the phone Scott explained to his dad that he’d gone through a drug rehabilitation program. There “I met Jesus Christ,” he said. “I’ve been forgiven for my past. I want to ask you and Mom to forgive me, too.”

Over the next several days, Scott told his family how he’d seen a vision of Jesus dying on the cross for his sins. Then how when he cried out to Christ for healing, his withdrawal symptoms ended. “I asked Jesus to be my Lord,” he explained, “and my life hasn’t been the same since.”

The change in Scott was so real that before long his parents likewise accepted the new life that only Jesus Christ gives. Therefore, placing your trust completely in the Lord is the best way to make your dreams come true.

In summary, it takes time, tests, teamwork, and trust to make dreams come true.

As I come to my close, there’s an old saying, “If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.” I’d also add, don’t share your dreams prematurely. Joseph revealed his way too soon before people were ready to hear about them. Don’t give up on your dreams either. Joseph could have become depressed. He could have sought revenge. But, he didn’t. Furthermore, remember: dreams are contagious. Those with lofty goals inspire others to dream. And never ever make fun of dreams, because they make reality worth all the difficulty. So class of 2006, make your dreams come true, then you’ll sleep better at night.


Steve D. Eutsler is Pastor of Living Water Assembly of God.

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