Back in 1993, some AT&T folks got together and imagined how their company was going to shape the future. What they came up with appeared in a series of television commercials. Each ad in the “You Will” campaign began with a series of enticing “Have you ever” questions, whetting our appetite for the day that AT&T would deliver all the nice goodies to our doorstep.
Fifteen years later, AT&T’s vision of the future is now passé. For each of those You Wills, we already have — with two differences. First, most of the experiences with technology we enjoy today are much better than AT&T envisioned. They could see only dimly what the future would hold. Second, by and large, AT&T was not the company to bring it to us. Their vision was largely delivered by companies that weren’t even around in 1993. In fact, the more cynical among us would argue that it wasn’t even really AT&T’s vision — they merely borrowed from others for the expedience of marketing their brand.
Notwithstanding the commercial motivations for the ad, it occurs to me that this video holds two reminders for us bold adventurers as we dream about and work toward the future. First, no matter how we envision it, as long as we remain yielded to God’s leading, our future will always be better than we can imagine. The Apostle Paul reminds us that God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Eph 3:20). Second, as was the case with AT&T, we are not the only ones building that future. He is working His dream out through the members of His body in ways He chooses and we can’t conceive.
Just as it sounds silly to hear AT&T promise to be the sole deliverer of technological wonders, it’s equally silly for us to believe that we are to deliver God’s dream alone as well. While each of us have our own path to walk, we best do so in the context of community. Because dreams shared by many make a better future than dreams imagined alone, that’s really good news. It also makes our encounters with others more stimulating. Someone we will soon meet may carry the seed of our dream into the future. And the dreams of someone we already know may be the inspiration for our next adventure. The key is the willingness to release our dreams into others and to receive theirs for us in return.
SOUND OFF: Have you been inspired recently by encounters with others that have given new perspectives on your dream?