Summary: This sermon will consider how God uses vision to motivate and mobilise people into service for him.
Have you ever wondered why some people receive visions, or a call concerning what God wants them to do in life, while others may not. We do not know why God gives some people visions and not others. However, one reason why God might put a vision on someone’s heart may be to mobilise and to motivate them into a work for Him, which they may not have considered under their own steam. This is not to suggest that God cannot lead people by his Spirit into the call he has placed upon them, he can.
However, in Matthew 13:7 (NIV) Jesus said ’Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants’. For reasons we may not understand, not everyone responds to the gospel in the way that we would hope. And where there is uncertainty, it may very well be in God’s interest to impart a vision into someone’s heart. From such a vision, a person might be given additional encouragement to undertake a work which God considers important. And this is not to suggest that only the ’special few’ are worthy of receiving a vision from God. On the contrary, God is able to give anyone of us a vision, at any part of our Christian journey.
Obviously, there are many reasons why God imparts vision, but it’s is not the purpose of this sermon to consider all those potential reasons. What we are interested in is how to cope and unpack a vision, which God has given to us. And by examining the experiences of how Joseph coped with the visions God gave him, we might better understand God’s workings in such matters for our own lives.
A Vision Out Of Time
In Genesis Chapter 37 we read about the start of Joseph’s journey with God. It’s the start of God’s revelation to Joseph that God will (in time) raise him up above his own brethren. From time-to-time, some Christians have shared visions that God has given them, some of which have a tendency to be overwhelming. Some visions people receive are often beyond belief, simply because they are received before God has put the mechanisms in place for such visions to become a reality. What is telling about Joseph’s vision(s) are that they caused jealousy and envy among his brothers. Likewise, some Christians have a vision placed on their heart, which receive the scorn of those who are supposed to belong to the household of faith, and should be supportive of those God is calling into service for God. All Christians can, and should serve God, but sometimes God has to use a big prompt, through the mechanism of visions, to move or motivate some people into important, or strategic work for God.
When God gives you a vision, or a call about your future, do not presume that everyone is open and accepting about it as you are. Do not make the mistake of thinking that, somehow, jealousy, envy and competition have all miraculously disappeared from other people’s lives. Such a view of the church of God is naive. Joseph was naive, and rather than letting God bring about his call, over time, he shared his vision out of time - which caused him additional problems. He shared his vision, before he understood either the implications, or the consequences of sharing with those he thought he could trust. He may have even presumed that the vision was for now, which is something many people misunderstand about visions. Visions need to stand the test of time, and they need to be brought into the reality they were intended for. Joseph’s dreams were not for his day, they were for his future.