During the last number of years when I was engaged in full-time local church work, we had an annual theme that we focused on for the year. We built our sermons and classes around that general theme. It was a spiritual challenge to the congregation to zero in on a single idea.
Although we’re now engaged in an international itinerant ministry, I’ve decided to make this my theme for the year–2020 Vision: Restoring Our Focus. It’s a personal pursuit. One that I will be blogging about on ThePreachersWord. And as I have opportunity it’s a theme I want to share as we visit various congregations.
When we think of vision, from a physical viewpoint we automatically think of eyesight. However, vision has to do with perception. Insight. Imagination. And conception.
Vision allows you to look beyond the present moment. To see what is really important. To recognize opportunities. To detect obstacles. And get a glimpse of what the future holds.
Inventors like Thomas Edison, writers like William Shakespeare, businessmen like Warren Buffet and social reformers like Martin Luther King, Jr. were all people of vision. They approached their respective fields of endeavor seeing not what was, but what could be.
Helen Keller, the American author, political activist, and lecturer was the first person born blind and deaf to receive a BA degree. She was once asked by an interviewer, “What would be worse than being born blind?” She quickly replied, “To have sight, but no vision.”
Spiritually speaking vision is vital to our divine association with God, personal spiritual growth, and congregational well-being. When Paul prayed for the Ephesian brethren he asked the Lord to give them wisdom and knowledge so that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened. Through which they could clearly see their hope in Christ, His role in their lives, and their future inheritance (Eph. 1:15-21).
However, like the religious leaders that Jesus condemned (Matt 13:11-16) it’s possible that our eyes become blinded by sin. That our vision is obscured by the cares of the world. And lose sight of our heavenly goal.
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. This is true of individual Christians, as well as entire congregations.
Sometimes, disturbing distractions like fear, worry and pessimism pervade our thoughts and permeate our emotions so that our focus is on our feelings instead of our faith. This dissipates our energy. Squanders our resources. And blinds us to exciting opportunities and God’s precious promises.
The need is real. The challenge is imperative. And the answer ought to be obvious. Restore our focus.
The wise man’s counsel will redirect our view. “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you” (Prov. 3:25).
The plea of the Psalmist will adjust our sight: “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law” (Ps. 119:18).
And the exhortation of the Hebrew writer will restore our focus. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).
Our vision will never rise any higher than our thoughts. The popular author anonymous was right: ‘Your thoughts shape your vision. You see what you want to see.”
So in order to sharpen our vision and restore our focus, we must think about things that are true. Honorable. Just. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. And praiseworthy. (Phil. 4:8)
To paraphrase Peter Block, “Your spiritual vision is not only a roadmap but also a compass.” So, look to God’s Word for guidance. And stay focused on Jesus for direction.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman