John Ortberg tells the bizarre story of Larry Walker, an unfulfilled pilot “wanna-be.” Poor eyesight frustrated his desire to be a flyer in the air force.
Unfortunately, it seems that his eyesight wasn’t the only thing that was dim about him. His wits burned a bit low at times also.
One day he thought he had solved the riddle of how to get those born-to- fly-feet off the ground. He attached forty-five helium-filled weather balloons to his lawn chair and strapped himself in.
He had stocked up on sandwiches, a pellet gun, and a six-pack of lite beer before he took off.
He figured he’d level out at about 30 feet (10 metres) above his back yard. After eating his sandwiches and drinking his beer, he’d eventually burst a few balloons with his pellet gun and settle back to the earth.
Imagine his surprise when his friends cut the cord holding him bound to the earth. You think those forty-five helium-filled weather balloons stopped at thirty feet? You jest. One thousand feet? Not even.
Old Larry finally stopped climbing at 16,000 feet. Way up there, he wasn’t too excited about shooting any of his balloons. Things began to heat up, though, when he drifted into the airspace of a Los Angeles airport.
After some hours he decided he had to do something so he popped enough balloons to come back to earth, where he got tangled in some power lines and was rescued.
Authorities led poor Larry away in handcuffs. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said, “We know he broke some part of the Federal Aviation Act, and as soon as we figure out which part it was, a charge will be filed.”
A reporter asked Larry about why he did it. “A man can’t just sit there,” he responded.
A Man Can’t Just Sit There
When I read Larry’s story I’m torn between admiration and laughter. I’m impressed that he went after a dream. I’m amazed that all he did to prepare himself was buy a few balloons.
We all have dreams but if all we do to make them come true is “buy a few balloons,” we don’t have dreams. We’re living in a fantasy world.
I’m a firm believer that God made each one of us and put us here on earth for a reason. He puts dreams in our heart but we’ve got to do something to anchor those dreams in reality if we want them to come true.
Jesus spent thirty years learning the human condition so he could save us. Constantly interacting with others, he observed up close what men are like and he felt and experienced their needs.
Banging away at his job, he was also going to “Bible school,” mulling over the scriptures he learned in synagogue—sounding the depths of their meaning.
Do you think the wisdom that astounded the teachers in the temple when Jesus was 12-years old just happened? Don’t you imagine he thought and prayed and meditated and observed? He committed scripture to memory.
Sure the Spirit taught Him but if Jesus had been lazy or uninterested, the Spirit wouldn’t have had much luck with Him. Jesus got Himself ready to accomplish his dream.
You’d be amazed at how many years it takes to become an overnight success.
Three Keys To Dream-catching
Has God gifted you with a dream? Do you want to take it from a fantasy to a reality? Here are some suggestions:
–Find out if the dream is from God or only your idea. The Bible says that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will give us what our heart desires. Sometimes the dream comes looking for you. Moses dreamed his dream and ending up having to run for his life and abandon his vision. Then one day, God came looking for Moses. And the dream came true.
–Do what is in front of you until you can do what you want to do. Can you imagine the Messiah pounding nails? He did. That was Messiah training. Can you imagine a king herding a bunch of stinky sheep? David did. Check out the story of David’s despised herd. You can’t be a good shepherd for a nation if you aren’t faithful with a stinky little herd lost in the desert.
–Get ready. Our aviator, Larry, would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had read up on how many helium balloons it takes to float 30 feet off the ground. Probably never before in the history of the world have we had the opportunity to learn so much for free. Internet contains numberless libraries. Books and teaching abound. One man talked about his Automobile University—he listened to teaching while making his commute to work each day. It’s incredible what is available but we must have the discipline to leave those things that entertain us to prepare ourselves to accomplish our dreams.
–Someone said, “+The way to turn a dream into a goal is to put a due date on it. This one act will often create the urgency you need to get going.”
Otherwise, we might find ourselves floating 16,000 feet above the earth, wondering what happened.
The unintentional byproduct of distancing ourselves from legalism is a missing awareness of the beauty of the pursuit of holiness. Charles porter