A preacher was trying out for a church. They spent a weekend together and on Sunday night had a business meeting for people to ask questions. Someone asked, “If we hire you, what is the #1 thing you will do to help us grow?”
“I promise if you hire me I will do everything within my power to bring this church into the 20th century,” the preacher replied.
Sheepishly, after a thoughtful pause, one member raised their hand and said, “Preacher, you mean the 21st century, don’t you?”
“Let’s just take one century at a time,” the preacher responded.
Too many churches and Christians are living in the past. They fail to see the possibilities and what they can achieve for the Lord. They lose sight of who they are, what they’re about, and where they’re headed.
Have you ever wondered why some people get so bogged down the problems of the present, that they lose sight of the future? That they can’t seem to see a brighter day? Or why Christians who ought to know better will sell their soul for something cheap, trivial and even tawdry?
And yet others have the capacity to remain strong. Stay focused. Keep their eyes on the spiritual goal. And see a brighter day.
One difference is in vision. People of vision are people of faith. Hope. And action. Spiritually speaking, visionary Christians can see beyond the troubles, trials and temptations of this life and see a better home. A better body. And a better life.
In 2 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul who had experienced a miraculous vision on the Damascus road and literally had a “Jesus moment,” is now allowed to get a glimpse into the heavenly land. Unlike John who later is allowed to symbolically write about the glory, grandeur, and greatness of heaven, Paul doesn’t reveal what he saw. But you get the feeling it was spectacular.
Interestingly, he immediately begins to relate the issue of his “thorn in the flesh.” A physical infirmity for which he prayed three times for it’s removal. The Lord’s answer? “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul’s response was not one of whining, complaining or self-pity. But rather of confidence in God’s assurance. Thus, he proclaimed, 2 Cor 12:9-10
“Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:7-10)
Too often we rationalize our lack of spiritual progress to some perceived limitation, affliction, or circumstance. But, maybe God is saying, “My grace is sufficient.”
When Churches and Christians find themselves mired in apathy, indifference, indecisiveness or frivolous pursuits, they need to restore their focus. With vision toward our heavenly home, we can overcome any challenge, conqueror any foe, and defeat the devil with his devious devices.
Vision needs to be focused in the right direction. The late Jewish writer Stephen Samuel Wise expressed it this way: “Vision looks inward and becomes a duty. Vision looks outward and becomes an aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith.”
When our spiritual vision is blurred, our faith is dimmed, our hope is diminished, and our work for the Lord declines. When we lose sight of our mission and ministry, in our myopic condition we become dismayed, discouraged and depressed.
Helen Keller was right, when she responded to the question, “What would be worse than being born blind?” Quickly she replied, “To have sight, but no vision.”
Open your eyes to God. His will. His Word. Get a good look at the heavenly home prepared for the faithful. And with renewed vigor and restored vision reclaim your spiritual purpose.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman