“Where there is no vision the people perish.” Such a well-known saying from Proverbs, but what does it mean and how might it inspire us?
If I need to wear glasses [which I do], or contact lenses, it is because a correction is needed in order that I see things more clearly. What a difference that moment first thing in the morning makes when I put my glasses on (especially when I cannot remember where I have left them!)
Vision therefore brings us clarity.
I suppose what some of us mean by having or casting a vision, is understanding a clear way forward in helping us to effectively carry out our ministry as either an individual or a church. To see clearly, perhaps where our whole denomination might aim in order to be an effective witness to Scotland.
One would imagine that speaking of a clear and effective vision means that there is a degree of certainty about actions and outcomes. In that respect, do we have that quality and certainty as a church in Scotland?
However, perhaps to begin with mission and vision statements about potential church growth is the wrong jumping off position.
I believe that the Lord’s Prayer is our starting point when it comes to a real and purposeful vision.
“Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.”
Our vision begins with who God is – with his unimaginable glory; that place of meditation and contemplation where we put knowing the Lord above all else. Prayer is our entry point and our priority. Taking time to meditate on the otherness, glory, goodness, justice, love and grace of the Lord – but always careful to seek the Lord, not as an idea or concept but a living reality. To wait, to seek, to ask – to knock on that door and say as Moses did – “Show me your Glory.”
The essence of this is that we can only reflect what we seek and receive – this takes time and patience and seeing this time with and in the presence of the Lord as a priority – the priority. In terms of our ministry, what comes before anything else! Why is this so? Look at Isaiah and how that vision of the glory of God both broke, rebuilt and inspired him. Is that not enough?
“Your Kingdom come.”
Everyone has their own kingdom – their own values and ideas about what life is all about. The vision that the child of God has is that of being a person in Christ, where he alone is King and his rule is what determines all of our values.
“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Someone I once heard preaching – cannot remember her name, sorry – said, “Don’t do anything on earth that you would be ashamed to do in heaven.” That one statement was ground-breaking for me over 45 years ago!
Our vision is not derived from our culture but from the One who came from the Father and clearly shows us the will of the Father – the perfect ways of heaven. We get ourselves lost in our desire to “please” those around us when ultimately there is only One who is to be pleased – He is our vision – is this to some extent where we have lost the way and the vision?
Vision? Get the foundations right, which is what I believe the Lord’s Prayer is – especially its beginning – and live the vision. Live the vision and the world sees what is essential – the vison of a Kingdom that is restorative, full of hope and life. The world does not need to hear our words but see the difference, hence the vision!