Leonardo da Vinci was an extraordinarily gifted man. He was handsome, intelligent, and artistic. He had a brilliant mind for mathematics and science. However, gifted as he was, Leonardo had one great failing. He seldom finished what he started. His fertile mind tended to drift to a new idea before he could complete the old one. As a result, historians aren’t sure exactly what he discovered, or what he invented.
His far flung imagination led him to speculate on the design of helicopters and airplanes. But he never made an airplane that could fly. He envisioned an elevator capable of lifting people up several stories, but he never made an elevator. Leonardo dreamed about a lot of things. But he never really built anything. Which raises a question: are you a visionary if all you do is dream?
Let’s compare Leonardo to a couple of men I consider to be visionaries: the Wright brothers. Orville and Wilbur weren’t the smartest or the most articulate. They didn’t paint any works of art or postulate any theories of the cosmos. They were two simple bicycle mechanics that dreamed of flying. But unlike Leonardo, they put sweat to their dream. They hammered and banged and got splinters and sore thumbs. They built wind tunnels to test over 200 wing designs. They repeatedly tried and failed until on December 17, 1903 the brothers finally got it right. Orville flew for 12 seconds and the age of powered flight was born.
An dream without effort makes a dreamer. An dream with effort makes a visionary.
Paul understood that.
(Col 1:29) And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
Paul didn’t just dream of reaching the world. we worked at it. And as a result the world got changed. Within 200 years of his death nothing was the same. That’s the power of a visionary.
So which are you? Dreamer or visionary? What dream do you have? What are you doing about it?
Several years ago I was in Washington DC at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. There in the grand foyer, front and center among all the great airplanes was that relic of vision, the Wright Flyer. There is no airplane built by Leonardo.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.