Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish
Without a clearly defined vision, God’s people will perish. The Hebrew word for “perish” is para (paw-rah) and it means, “to cast off restraints, become unruly, be slack.”
Vision is foresight with insight based on hindsight. It is a clear mental image of God’s preferred future imparted by the Holy Spirit to God’s chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, one’s self and calling, and the circumstances.
It is important to understand that while everyone should have a vision, not everyone is called to be a visionary.
Psalm 103:7: He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel.
- Moses was called to a people
- Aaron was called to a man (Moses)
When Moses was on the mount with God, the people pushed Aaron into Moses’ role and he failed miserably. The result was a golden calf. It is critical to abide in the function and calling that God has for your life. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called (1 Corinthians 7:20).
It is important to get under a visionary pastor and serve. This is true especially if you have ministry calling on your own life. Listen to these words of Jesus: And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16:12). Early in my calling, I found every opportunity to serve in the local church. Not to be seen of men for earthly reward, but as unto the Lord. I took the offering, cleaned the church, operated the television camera, worked in the prayer line, visited the sick, etc. All along, I had a vision of ministry that was burning in my heart. But first, I had to be faithful over that which was another man’s.
The vision that you follow cannot be man-made. The word of God tells us that unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it (Psalm 127:1). The vision must be from God or it will fail. The Apostle Paul told King Agrippa: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19).
Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
There is, of course, a literal fulfillment of the prophetic words spoken in Habakkuk chapter 2; however, there is also a spiritual application. This passage reveals some key principles related to vision.
Write the Vision
First off, the Lord says to “write the vision.” Writing something down attaches an importance and definiteness to something. Moving forward off of the top of your head, without a plan, is always going to produce inferior results. Writing things down ensures that we don’t forget the details of what God has placed on our heart.
The importance of writing down goals can be seen in a study done several years ago. In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program and found that:
- 84% had no specific goals at all
- 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
- 3% had clear, written goals and plans to accomplish them
In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class. You can guess the results:
- The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
- Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
Make it Plain
God chose the Koine Greek language to present the New Testament, instead of classical Greek. Koine was the language of the people and was easy to understand. During the dark ages of the church, all Bibles were translated into Latin and only the priests were able to understand it. The people were dependent on the priest to know what God’s Word said. This changed after the reformation. When you consider these two points together, it is easy to see that God wants to communicate clearly and plainly, but man wants to complicate.
- God’s Communication Style: Clear and Plain
- Man’s Communication Style: Complicated
It does no good to lay out the vision if no one understands it!
That He May Run Who Reads It
The purpose for the vision is that those who are called to the ministry may read it and run with it. This will not be a church where the pastor does all of the ministry. God has placed members into the body with gifts and talents. Burying your talents in the ground will not be acceptable practice in this church.
We will keep the vision in front of us so that we keep our focus. The enemy is the master of distractions. He would have us busy doing good things instead of God things. We cannot do enough good to change the world, but if we obey God in what He has called us to do, we can effect change in our world.