Vision - Not an Option
More than 35 years ago I become the pastor of a small rural church in Sugarcreek, Ohio. In those early days, people would often ask me what my vision was. As I was recruiting a team, the question became more frequent. I told them my vision was to influence, impact, and bring change to the world. I could sense their reaction. Though few were directly unkind, very few took me seriously. I could feel their rolled eyes and skepticism. They would figuratively pat me on my head, thinking, “That’s an ambitious dream for a 24-year-old man. Good for you, son.”
I just got back from visiting the Middle East. Twenty years ago a friend and I were at dinner and we asked one another what God was saying to us. We each shared what was on our hearts. From that meeting, what we now know as Impact Middle East was birthed. On my recent trip, I visited the different countries and communities where IME is working. It was truly amazing. I was sitting with some of the great leaders there and could not hold back the tears. I began to cry, realizing that what I visualized 35 plus years ago was becoming reality.
I am now part of a group that is literally bringing hope and change. They help and assist the refugees who have been displaced in this war-torn area, both children and adults. Their needs are being met—emotionally, physically, and spiritually—through acts of kindness, giving them a safe place to heal and become who God intended them to be.
Today we are influencing not hundreds, but thousands of people from all different backgrounds. It all started with a vision. That’s the power of a clear and compelling vision.
Many will talk about the power of vision without truly understanding how vital it is and how much of a difference it will make in personal or professional achievement. It isn’t about “seeing is believing” mumbo-jumbo. It’s about believing you have the power and ability to make your vision come true. People who accomplish much good have emotionally tapped into their vision and have found it to drive them positively to the future.
Vision + Emotion = Drive
If you have ever been part of a discouraged or stalled organization, you know by experience what we see all around us. Real, well-considered vision is a difference maker. Vision is a source of hope; it’s the source of courage; it’s the source of perseverance during difficulty.
In his book, The Power of Vision, Dr. Myles Munroe states that vision contributes key elements for life and leadership:
· Provides direction in times of change and uncertainty
· Improves the quality of decision-making
· Dispels feelings of helplessness in turbulent times
· Helps individuals and organizations focus on their goals and achieve remarkable results
Dr. Munroe is a man of faith and believes that God has given the capacity for great vision and the fulfillment of that vision to each of us. I agree with him. I was nobody special—a young guy with plenty of inadequacies, but a big vision and a bigger God. That big vision and big God changes everything. What you believe in sets the temperature in your life and heart, and it determines how you see things. Munroe says, “What you believe in creates the environment in your life and in your heart. It also creates how you see things. Vision really is God exposing the true environment of your life to you in the midst of your present environment. In other words, you see your real self.”
I believe everyone carries a vision inside of them. It is essential that you believe that about yourself, and that you believe that vision can come to pass. Then you must set about connecting with the vision and working on it. Again, Munroe tells us, “You cannot guide a ship that’s parked.” You will find in the book of Proverbs, chapter 16, a very interesting statement made by God: “The heart of man makes his plans, and the Lord directs the steps of the plan.” We’re basically saying, “I’m waiting on God.” God would say, “I’m waiting on you. Why don’t you tell Me what you want to do with your life? Show Me what’s in your heart.”
No one else can tell you the vision God has for you. They can encourage you, but you must discover it yourself. Think about what it is that stirs your heart, what it is you want to do with your life. Write it down, come up with a plan, and then God promises He will direct your steps. Don’t get discouraged because where you are now is no way near your vision—work where you are with all your heart. It is preparation for your next phase and step.
When I started out with the vision that I believed God had given me, I was a pastor with a small group of people to lead. I had a big vision and a big God, but I had no personal resources. I was single without even a supportive wife. I had no contacts. But God helped me see that I had the greatest assets in the world to start with. I had my own mind and heart and vision. I had world and community that truly needed what I had. I had a God who believed in me. I believed that when I connected with Him, I was connected to His unlimited resources in every way. He has the contacts, He has the resources, He has the power. The more I believed and acted with faith on that, the more resources came to support the vision.
God created you for vision. He created you to create as He does. The power of your God-given vision will move you forward and bring things to life.