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 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 asked.
These were the same folks who had the vision to see thousands of miles across an ocean, overcoming incredible hardships to get there. But, in just a few years, they were unable to see five miles out of town. They’d lost their vision. Why? Because they became comfortable.
Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to an individual or an organization (like a church) is not adversity but prosperity. We reach a goal, finish a project, or see a dream accomplished and suddenly, it all seems to unravel before us. Why? Because, unfortunately, and many times unwittingly, we allow ourselves to become comfortable, mistakenly believing we’re finished with what God wants us to do. This happens, all too often, in churches where people look at buildings as monuments rather than tools. (Monuments are made to admire and enjoy. Tools are built to use.)
Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to an individual or an organization is not adversity but prosperity.
You need to remember your last victory is not your final victory. It’s simply your last victory. That project you just finished or that building you just built is not the final one, but merely the most recent one. Whatever you’ve just completed does not represent the completion of God’s vision for your life. It merely represents the most recent expression of it. God wants you to move on to the next phase of His will for your life and build some 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 don’t create it and sure can’t 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 Robert’s vision of a 900-foot-tall Jesus, Who supposedly told him to merge medicine and prayer and promised his medical clinic would find the cure for cancer? Or Jim Bakker’s vision of building a Disney World-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.
(3) God’s vision is never revealed all at once. It’s unfolded as we walk in obedience, one step at a time. None of us knew ten years ago we’d be where we are today. And none of us knows where we’ll be ten years from today.
(4) God’s vision can always be distinguished from man’s vision because of one factor: ONLY GOD CAN ACCOMPLISH HIS VISION. Anyone can pull off a vision from men. God’s vision, however, always comes with the “wow” factor attached to it. As it unfolds, people will say, “Wow! Only God could do that.” On the other hand, man’s vision always comes with the “yawn” factor. People look at it and say, “So what?”
(5) God’s vision demands 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 calls for faith.
(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. Which do you have in your church or organization? Winners or whiners? That’ll 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. 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.
There are two things that can cause us to miss God’s vision:
1) SIN (We’re following the devil’s vision.)
2) SELFISHNESS (We’re following our own vision.)
Helen Keller was once asked what could be worse than being born blind. She quickly replied, “to have sight and no vision.” The Bible says, “Without a vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)
Don’t sit there and miss God’s vision for your life. Get up and build some roads to the future.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. 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.