Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Newsletter: God's Vision

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)
Over the years, I have listened to politicians, business leaders, and church people talk about the “vision-thing.” I hear the gurus speak about concepts like “vision casting” and “vision alignment.” I must admit that the jargon and babble often wears me down. After a while, I find myself adrift in my own thoughts.

That’s a shame since the “vision-folk” are essentially correct. People are people. We want to know who we are. We want to belong. We want to know what we can contribute. We want to know what is possible. Communities that can articulate a shared vision often reach their goals simply because they know what those goals are.

Vision is important, yet something remains. What should that shared vision be? The difference between a demagogue and a statesman often rests on that very question. Sadly, Christian leaders will quote the partial verse above to justify whatever direction they wish to go. I have even caught myself doing this. Nonetheless, having a vision is not enough. We must have the right one.

Proverbs 29:18 is not about programs and possibilities. Instead it is about following God. The entire verse states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (KJV). The context suggests that those who do not keep the law will pay consequences. In fact, many translations use “prophecy” or “revelation” instead of “vision.” In other words, we are to follow God’s vision, not our own.

The work of ministry is important. We make decisions that we hope will further God’s kingdom. We organize and plan. Still, all our efforts must remain within the context of God’s greater vision for us. We are part of the new covenant in Jesus Christ. We are God’s children. We are to love both God and neighbor. Through the grace found in Christ we can be transformed. It is a glorious vision. Everything else is a poor substitute.

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