How Big Is Too Big?
It’s a question I ask every year.
Can we raise $100,000 to cover the entire yearly budget for all of the kids at Project Rescue’s HOME OF HOPE? It’s a crazy-big goal.
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Have you ever seen a million of anything in one place?
As a teacher I saw a lot of interesting student projects. One of the coolest was devised by a group of seventh graders who proposed collecting a million of something. Turns out there’s a lot of math involved in collecting, counting, and storing a million things.
It was a grand, audacious idea. What would they collect? They didn’t know. How long would it take? Not sure. How would they count something so big? How much space would they need? What kind of container would be required?
They hadn’t really thought through any of these issues, but that’s okay. One advantage of being a seventh grader is you don’t get stopped before you begin by fussing about details and why you can’t do something amazing.
A really good idea was a million pennies, which they’d donate to charity when they finished. This generated some funny discussions when administrators expressed security concerns. After all, a million pennies is, like, a lot of money. There was disagreement about the exact amount, something about moving decimal points.
I remember chuckling that adults could seriously worry about someone stealing a locked container filled with a million pennies. Apparently seventh graders aren’t the only ones lacking estimation skills.
Eventually pennies were ruled out. Too bad. I really wanted to see someone try to sneak off with 2.8 tons worth of pennies. That would have been another worthwhile project, maybe worthy of extra credit.
They finally settled on those little aluminum tabs that open soda cans. Parents collected them. Businesses collected them. Grandparents collected and mailed them. Around school it became something akin to a mortal sin to dispose of a can without first removing that tab.
They knew this would be a multi-year process. We were a grade 7-9 junior high school, so those kids were still around two-and-a-half years later when we finally accumulated one million of those silly little tabs.
The container was a Plexiglas-and-plywood marvel two meters wide, half a meter deep, and a meter high. A couple of kids designed and built it before we began collecting, an outrageous act of estimation and faith. When filled it weighed about a pound less than an elephant. We kept it for several years. Occasionally some smart-aleck kid would say, “How do you know there’s a million of them?”
“How about if you count them?” That usually shut ‘em up.
(As an aside, ask yourself how you’d organize a group of teenagers to actually count a million aluminum tabs in a single day. THAT was remarkable to watch!)
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I like this story because the students didn’t ask CAN WE COLLECT A MILLION OF SOMETHING?
They decided to do it, then started figuring out how.
They didn’t let imagined, up-front logistical issues keep them from setting a big goal.
Don’t Let Your Resources Determine Your Vision
The right question for the FREEDOM TOUR isn’t “can we raise the money?”
We need to be sure we’re following the right dream, God’s dream. Once we’re confident our vision aligns with His, we can work together, do our best to figure out the details, and trust Him for the outcome.
Whatever happens…it’s not about us. It’s about God, and it’s about a couple dozen kids at the Home of Hope.
What’s your God-sized dream?
Don’t start by counting your resources and listing the logistical obstacles. Start by getting your vision in line with what God has in mind.
It’ll be too big, but that’s okay.
It’s not about you.
(from material first published in September 2015)