Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Promise and the Payoff

What does it mean to have a dream? When I think of a dream I don't think of what occurs while I'm sleeping throughout the night. I think of the future that will exist tomorrow and I try to imagine how I can shape that. Dreams and visions are simply pictures of a desired future that you spend your present time trying to build into a reality. In others words, the promise (dream and vision) and the payoff (the coming to fruition). The promise could be to have kids and the payoff is holding your baby. The promise could be to start a successful business and the payoff could be hiring your first employee and cashing your first check. The promise could be to get your degree and the payoff is walking the line. The promise could be to see a Jesus movement to sweep our region and the payoff would be the changed lives, healed marriages, and people saved.

I heard a speaker say that in between the promise and the payoff there is a process. Sometimes the process is hard, sometimes we fall, sometimes we fail. The process is the day-to-day grind that you endure in order to get to the payoff. So often we want to skip the process and get straight to the payoff, but the process is what shapes who you are becoming. How you lead and work during the process will determine if you make it to the promise. If your behaviors, habits, and work ethic during the process are not sufficient, you will never make the payoff, and if by some chance you do, you will never stay there. It doesn't matter what the endeavor is, the process is a grind that requires discipline, commitment, and perseverance. When those things exist, the payoff to the promise will come.

Questions: What promise (vision/dream) in your life are you running after? How are you doing throughout the process of that promise? Are you prepared to work and fight for years before getting the payoff? What roadblocks in the process could deter you from the payoff?


  1. Are we in the process? If your in college trying to get your degree and your failing classes and dropping out, are you "in the process?" Is it fair to ask, if a person is failing at the process are they even in it at all?

    I want to learn and lead and move toward Him. I want to be used in whatever way he desires. If I'm not doing more good than bad, if I'm not taking more steps forward than I am backward, then I'm not sure if I'm really even living through the process.

    For me, I feel that I must be making progress to even consider myself "in the process."

  2. I think there are many processess going on in one's life. Marriage, parenthood, relationships with the lost and the saved, biblical knowledge, service in the world, service in the House of God,etc

    So, one needs to be in the groove of the process for all things in one's life. So to me my dreams are those that I live in knowing the Promises of the Lord and seeing the progress each day and as well looking forward to the Big Payoff !

  3. My big dream has been being a mom. I personally have never felt like God promised ME a child, but I have that strong desire nonetheless. The payoff I have wanted is to hold my baby. But, as God changes my heart, I'm praying that this process produces a deep satisfaction in Him alone.

    I want to find fulfillment in hoping in Jesus and His sovereignty in my life. I would love to live the rest of my life fully satisfied in God only. I would love for a baby to be "icing on the cake" if that's what He chooses instead of the pinnacle. So, those are some of the things I'm praying for during this process.

    I'm so excited for the series you're about to start on joy. That's another thing I've been praying for- joy even when circumstances don't pan out the way I expected. Praying for you as you prepare!

  4. I think one of the biggest roadblocks is fear....fear that we'll fail along the way..maybe fear that we won't physically see the progress or even the payoff....

    I think the thing that can counter this though is daily time spent with God...we have to be confident that we are following His process and not our own....our promise is only fullfilled in living in unity with Him....

    I have to realize that I may never see and earthly payoff and in reality I might not ever see progress in my time for walking in His promises...!!! Alot of progress may not be seen in our lifetime...take for example as a youth pastor you may influence students every day...and you'd hope to see progress...but what you have said may not effect them till years down the road when your gone and out of their lives!

    So my hope is to live in such a way that I don't measure things based on the worldly standard but that instead I hold steadfast in chasing after Him...and like Josiah not turn to the left or to the right!

  5. I'm not sure I ever clearly heard a promise from God for anything specific, short of salvation...but I have thought that certain talents or skills I had MUST be part of God's plan (promise) for me. Oddly enough they've not really been things that have moved me forward with my spiritual realtionship with the Father or with others.

    So I do a lot of wrestling with the process side of things. I know God gives us gifts that he expects us to use, but when you want to use them and they don't really help you move forward....then what?