The Shelf Life of a Dream

The shelf life of a dream…. It was part of a quote from something I was watching on television. It stuck with me, although I can’t remember what I was watching. According to Oxford languages self life is defined as “the length of time for which an item remains usable, fit for consumption, or saleable.” So what is the shelf life of a dream?

My first thought for an answer is “as long as there is breath left in the dreamer.” I know there are many dreams that I have yet to fulfill in my life. I am hopeful that I will see them come to pass; others I have decided are no longer fit for my consumption. It is no longer something I want to sale my limited time pursuing.

As I pondered the thought, I realized the shelf life of a dream is until it comes true. Every dream has the potential to become a reality. Some dreams may not happen until after the life of the one who originally dream it. The dream is still usable if someone else picks it up and continues with it. The dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel is an example:

“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

“This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”

I don’t think this question stayed with me for no reason. I know there are dreams that God has placed within my heart, that I set on a shelf because of hurt or setbacks. God is saying the self-life of those dreams are not over. They are still usable. The dreams were made for consumption. Pick your dreams back up and sale them!

God has placed a dream inside of each of us. We can not allow the cares of this world to steal our dreams. We can not allow set backs and hurts to cause us to leave our dreams on the shelf. We have to be willing to take those dead dreams off the shelf and give them life again. The shelf life of our God given dreams is when they have come to pass!

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