Thales of Miletus lived from about 636 to 546 BC and is the first recorded Western philosopher. The picture shows a bust of Thales in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, but is not contemporary with him and is unlikely to bear any resemblance!
Although he apparently wrote nothing, he is believed to have introduced geometry into Greece and to have been a capable astronomer. It is said he predicted an eclipse of the sun in 585 BC, and was acknowledged as one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece.
It is interesting that Thales has stories told about both his great practical skills and also about him being an unworldly dreamer. Aristotle, for example, relates a story of how Thales used his skills to deduce that the next season’s olive crop would be a very large one. He therefore bought all the olive presses and was able to make a fortune when the bumper olive crop did indeed arrive. On the other hand Plato tells a story of how one night Thales was gazing at the sky as he walked and fell into a ditch. A servant girl lifted him out and said to him “How do you expect to understand what is going on up in the sky if you do not even see what is at your feet”.
As Christians, and as a church, there is the need to see both the heavens and the earth. We need to keep our eyes fixed (like superglue) on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. We need a determination to keep our attention on his purposes for our lives, otherwise we will find ourselves aimlessly wandering through our years on earth. We need a heavenly vision of what God is calling us, and our church, to do and be. Otherwise we will find ourselves simply going around in circles getting nowhere. We need to live heavenly lives in the places that God has set us, with all the problems and pitfalls. The Lord desperately searches for those who will dare to dream and who will also be ready to pay the price to make the dream come true, those who are both visionary and practical enough to make the vision real.
This is why being a full and active member of a lively and committed Christian church is so important. It is the place where heaven and earth meet; where God’s plans and purposes are communicated and his power released to realise the dreams within lives given over to him. Someone once said church is the coming together of God and his people to create the place where dreams are harvested.
Lord, may it be so of Faversham Baptist Church!