Nearly 400 years ago a shipload of Europeans landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they built a town. The next year they elected a town government. The third year those elected officials decided to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the citizens tried to impeach their leaders. Why? Because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles out into a wilderness. “Why do we need to go west?” they wondered.
These were the same folks who had the vision to travel thousands of miles across an ocean and overcame incredible hardships to get there. But, in just a few years, were unable to see a mere five miles out of town. They’d lost their vision.
Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to an individual or an organization (like a church) isn’t adversity, but prosperity. We reach a goal, finish a project or see a dream accomplished, and suddenly it all seems to unravel. Why? Because unfortunately, and too often unwittingly, we allow ourselves to become comfortable, mistakenly believing we’re finished with what God wants us to do.
We need to remember our last victory is not our final victory. It’s simply our last one. The project we just finished or the building we just built isn’t the final one. It’s merely the most recent one. Whatever you’ve just completed doesn’t represent the completion of God’s vision for your life. It merely represents the most recent expression of it. God wants us to move on to the next phase of His vision for us. He wants us to build roads out into the uncharted wilderness.
To encourage you, here are some observations about vision:
1. The vision always comes from God, not men. Men can carry out God’s vision but they can’t create it, nor can they stop it (Acts 5:33-39). Men can also pervert God’s vision and when they do, God will stop them (Jeremiah 14:11-16). Remember Oral Roberts' vision of a 900-foot tall Jesus, who supposedly told him to merge medicine and prayer, and promised him that his medical clinic would find the cure for cancer? Or Jim Bakker’s vision of building a Disney type theme park for Christians? Or Jimmy Swaggart’s vision for building a Bible College that would be a world-class college, training thousands of preachers? History has shown where those visions originated.
2. God always begins by giving the vision to one man. Whether his name is Moses, Abraham, Noah, Gideon, David or Joshua, God never gives His vision to a committee or a group. You’ve probably heard the old saying, “a camel is a horse put together by a committee.”
3. God never reveals the vision all at once. It’s unfolded as we walk in obedience. One day at a time. One step at a time. None of us knew 10 years ago we’d be where we are today, and none of us knows today where we’ll be 10 years from today.
4. God’s vision can always be distinguished from man’s vision because of one primary factor: ONLY GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH HIS VISION. Anyone can pull off a vision from men. God’s vision, however, requires God’s help and provision. As the vision becomes reality people will say, “Only God could do that.”
5. God’s vision always requires urgency. We don’t have all the time in the world because we’re getting ready to leave this world. True, it took Noah 120 years to build the ark. But remember, he started building immediately and stayed after it until the job was done.
6. God’s vision will always thin the ranks. Some people will always choose Egypt over the Promised Land. The familiar over that which requires faith. Choosing same old, same old, over that which demands sacrifice.
7. God’s vision always attracts winners and resources. Why? Because it’s God’s vision and He’s the One drawing them. Man’s vision attracts whiners and complainers. Think about it for a moment ... which do you have in your church or organization? Winners or whiners? That will tell you whose vision you’re following.
8. God’s vision always demands our best. The best of our time, talent and treasure. By the way, the word "resources" is an interesting word. Our resources have another Source: God (1 Chronicles 29:14-17). He gives them to us so we can be re-sources. In other words, when we give what we have, we become like God Who gave them to us in the first place. (If you’re currently short on resources, maybe you ought to check your connection to the Source. Just a thought.)
9. God’s vision always delivers eternal rewards. Not just the rewards of the here and now. But, for all eternity.
Three things can make you miss God’s vision:
#1 – SIN (You’re following the devil’s vision.)
#2 – SELFISHNESS (You’re following your own vision.)
#3 – SATISFACTION</strong> (You’ve lost any sense of vision.)
Helen Keller was once asked what would be worse than being born blind. She said, “to have sight and no vision.” The Bible says, “Without a vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
In just a few hours, we will break ground for our new children’s building. Without question, it will be one of the most phenomenal facilities ever built – just for kids! We should celebrate the fact we’re beginning this tremendous project, and it’s already paid for before we turn the first shovel of dirt.
But we also need to determine, right now, that we’re not going to miss God’s vision for us going forward. Our new children’s building isn’t the last thing God wants us to do. It’s simply the next thing God wants us to do.
While the building is being built, we’re not going to sit back and get comfortable, content and complacent and miss God’s vision for our lives.
We’re going to keep building roads to the future.
© 2013. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.