Summary: When God’s people are following his vision for them personally and collectively, we won’t be able to contain the excitement that will follow.
J. Wallace Hamilton said, “Roads to nowhere are hard to build.”
Studies have shown that depression rates are higher among today’s generation than in past generations. One has concluded, “The more we focus on ourselves, the more depressed we become.”
Without them, my world is one big blob of indistinguishable faces and blurry images.
As an elementary age student, getting glasses was a horrible experience. Glasses may be stylish now, but they weren’t when I received my first pair. Manufacturers constructed atrocious frames, and—unless they were old, people who wore glasses were called “four eyes” and made fun of. My experience was similar. Receiving the news that I needed them wasn’t exciting.
While some wear glasses with plastic frames simply because they think glasses are stylish, such wasn’t the case when I first got glasses. Wearing glasses wasn’t popular. I endured the agony of being labeled. I was visually impaired and could do nothing about it but endure the agony of rejection and blurriness.
Forty-five years later, things haven’t changed much. My blurry world remains the same if I remove my glasses. Recently, my cornea specialist diagnosed me as possibly being in the early stages of glaucoma. Additionally, I was diagnosed with dry-eye disease. Diagnoses that resulted in three types of eye drops daily and periodic visits so he could keep a check on my eye pressure.
Jesus told a story about a man of noble birth who left to be appointed as a king. He called in ten of his servants and assigned them about three months’ wages each for them to put to work while he was gone. When the master returned, he called in his servants so they could give him an account of their activity. The first doubled the original portion. The second earned five more, but the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, “Master, I hid your money and kept it safe.” He neglected his duty because he didn’t share his master’s vision and was selfish. The end result: he lost his opportunity to be commended by his master and to be given more responsibility.
When there’s no vision, businesses flounder, community organizations deteriorate, and investments dwindle. When spiritual vision is lacking, similar things happen. I flounder around with no divine aims and goals, and the quality of my walk with Christ deteriorates. And churches stagnate, decline, and many die.
Living without vision is like looking through a keyhole. Modern doors have no keyholes that you can see through. Old doors that were locked with skeleton keys did. Keyholes in doors constructed years ago were below the knob in a totally separate mechanism. Skeleton keys were used to open and lock the door—if the homeowner could find them. If a mischievous child wanted to spy on his parents or siblings, all he had to do was look through the keyhole. Like a door peephole, however, the keyhole provided only a limited view. The one peeping could only glimpse what was directly in front of them along with very limited vision of peripheral areas.
God has a general vision for everyone, but realizing his specific plan for me and my church requires asking him to share it. That’s followed by allowing his Spirit to guide me to goals that will help me reach it. Simply knowing God has a vision for me accomplishes nothing.
Pride and lack of vision often go hand in hand. I have certain reasons I don’t want just anybody in my life or in my church. But pride will lead to a downfall every time. It is one of those sins God particularly despises because of the bitter consequences it can bring. Pride makes me think I’m better than others for whatever reasons I can concoct. The sin of pride brought Adam and Eve’s downfall, and it will bring a downfall to anyone who lets it creep into their lives.
Prejudice and lack of vision often hold hands. Most of the ancient Jews thought they were better than their Gentile neighbors. After all, God had chosen the Jews as His special possession. Though God had a special plan for them, the plan included their bringing Gentiles into God’s fold. Unfortunately, they often ignored God’s plan because they thought they were better than the Gentiles. This became especially evident in the New Testament when Paul began taking the gospel to the Gentiles.
Selfishness and lack of vision also frequently walk together. When life is all about me, I won’t see God’s plan—even when it’s staring me in the face. Selfishness causes me to miss God’s best while keeping the focus on me, myself, and I.
On the other hand, living out God’s vision for our individual lives and our churches is rewarding and exciting and leads to a sense of fulfillment not discovered anywhere else. As a Christian, his vision for you will somehow relate to his vision for all believers: to spread his love worldwide and teach others to obey his commands.