Without a Vision, God’s People Perish
You may have heard the story of an eagle which thought it was a chicken. An egg of an eagle unexpectedly got hatched along with the chickens and he grew up with the chickens. One day, he saw an eagle soaring high in the sky. Wow, said the eagle down below, I wish I could fly so high. Some chickens laughed at him, while others mocked him saying you are a chicken, you’ll never get so high. He lived like a chicken and died like a chicken.
God’s people are supposed to live like eagles and not like chickens. One of the amazing characteristic of an eagle is its vision. An eagle has a keen vision, it can see what most birds are unable to see. Sadly, most Christians live like chickens, having an earthly vision that is perishable, unlike the farsightedness of an eagle that soars high above everyone else. But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
The Oxford dictionary defines a vision as ‘the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom’. Every company and organisation have a vision statement. When a person accepts a job offer for a particular company, he complies and works towards achieving the vision of that company. He does not submit to his own vision or agenda, but submits to the goals of the organisation he works.
Similarly, when a person gets saved and receives Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour, the believer, then complies and works towards the vision of Jesus Christ. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building (1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV).
We all receive the same vision of Jesus Christ, which is to fulfil God’s will. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19 ESV). The plan to achieve the vision is different for everyone. Just like an organisation has one vision, but all employees have different roles to achieve that vision.
Our roles depends on our gifts, talents and the specific will and purpose God has for our lives. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:4-8 NIV).
A vision is essential for a Christian, for without a vision, we have no sense of direction. We backslide and we perish. If we fail to have a vision, we are not motivated, and we fail to receive instructions which leads us to run wild and unrestrained.
Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. (Proverbs 29:18 NIV). The King James Version translates the same verse as: Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Without God’s direction and purpose, people run wild. They become clueless, they make their own visions and follow them. Our vision is not an earthly vision, but a heavenly and spiritual vision. Without this heavenly vision, we get caught up in the mundane routines of life without a purpose and without the knowledge of right or wrong. The revelation and the laws of God, helps us and directs us in achieving the vision.
Obedience to God and His teachings leads us to fulfil the vision. Many fail to receive the vision because they are in disobedience to God. Others that have received the vision, fail to comply with it because they have something or someone in their life that is more important to them than God’s vision.
Some abandon God’s vision because they live a selfish, self-centred life instead of a God-centred life. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV).” Godly vision calls for self-denial and sacrifices.
Many Christians reject God’s vision because they want to pursue their own dreams and vision. Just like the chickens, they fail to see past the worm that can fill their bellies. Money and wealth are the vision of many Christians. They forsake God’s vision for a perishable earthly vision. Some find their security in money and so money becomes their priority and goal in life.
A rich man wanted to inherit eternal life and he came to Jesus and asked Him what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus asked him to obey the commandments, to which he replied, he has obeyed all the commandments since he was a boy. Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth (Matthew 19:21-22 NIV).
Does it mean every Christian must give up their job and become missionaries? No, every Christian does not have to give up their jobs or businesses, but every Christian has to fulfil God’s vision. If you are good at making money, you should continue doing so, as long as it is from your hard work and it’s legal. What you do with that money determines your vision. Are you generous with your money? Does your money support the missions? Is your money building God’s kingdom? Are you investing the perishable money into building the imperishable church? Is your money impacting eternity? Is it saving souls?
Others are unable to carry out God’s vision because they have other relationships that are more important to them than their relationship with God. “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me (Matthew 10:37 NIV).” Sometimes Christians become people-pleasers instead of God-pleasers, surrendering themselves for the approval of men instead of God’s approval.
What are the hindrances in your life that is stopping you from accomplishing God’s vision? Do you love God the most? If you love anything else more than God, your vision will change to a perishing vision. God has to have the first place in your life. God’s vision has to be absorbed in every fragment of your life.
Some may say, if there is self-denial and suffering in accomplishing the vision, what’s in it for them? Everything. You were created for the vision. Just like an eagle is designed to soar high, be fearless, and tenacious, flying through the storm fulfilling the vision. We too are crafted to fulfil God’s vision, without which we only perish.