“The Necessity Of Vision”
In the early 1960's, Walter took his good friend Arthur for a ride way out in the country. They drove off the main road and through groves of trees to a large uninhabited expanse of land. A few horses were grazing and a couple of old shacks remained. Walter, stopped the car, got out, and started to describe with great vividness the wonderful things he was going to build. He wanted his friend Arthur to buy some of the land surrounding his project to get in on the ground floor. But Arthur thought to himself, “Who in the world is going to drive twenty-five miles for this crazy project?” And so Walter explained to Arthur, “I can handle the main project myself. But the land bordering it, where we’re standing now, will in just a couple of years be jammed with hotels and restaurants and convention halls to accommodate the people who will come to spend their entire vacation here at my park.” He continued, “I want you to have the first chance at this surrounding acreage, because in the next five years it will increase in value several hundred times.” Years later as Arthur retold the story, he said, “What could I say? I knew he was wrong.” Arthur then promised to look into it a little later on, but he never followed through. And so, Art Linkletter turned down the great opportunity to buy up all the land that surrounded what was to become Disney World.
Every generation produces its own set of visionary people. Men and women that push the boundaries of what was once deemed impossible. However, their tribe is typically small in number. The vast majority in life have little dreams or vision for their lives and are simply existing. Helen Keller was once asked, “Is blindness the greatest human handicap?” Without hesitation, Helen replied, “Oh no! It is worse to have seeing eyes and not see!” Solomon shared such a thought in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” It is literally translated, “Where there is no revelation, the people throw off all restraint.” This word “vision” is not speaking of day dreams, personal enthusiasm, worldly ambition, or even natural optimism. It is speaking of something outside of human effort. Vision is what you see by faith from God. Someone has called vision hope with a blueprint. A life that is under the influence of a vision is consumed with the vision. The vision will dominate their conversation, dictate their companions, and decide their choices. Joseph could not be discouraged from the vision of becoming a great leader. Nehemiah could not be distracted from the vision of building the wall. Charles Swindoll said, “Vision is essential for survival ...It is greater than sight, deeper than a dream, broader than an idea. Vision encompasses vast vistas outside the realm of the predictable, the safe, the expected. No wonder we perish without it!” Just why is vision so necessary to our lives?
Vision embraces the invisible. In Hebrews 11:27, we are told that Moses “...endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” This was said of the man who had been given brief affirmations of God’s presence, and a fleeting glimpse of God’s glory as He passed by. Just as we are momentarily able to see objects in a room once the lights are turned off, Moses could still see God when the manifestation of His presence had disappeared. Having a clear vision from God is dependent on having a clear vision of God. The moment a man loses himself in the wonder of God, he will gain the ability to see with the eyes of God. Those with such vision are able to perceive all the possibilities before they become noticeable to everyone else. The spiritual giants that have drawn our admiration the most throughout the ages are those who marched confidently forward, armed with nothing but a vision in their heart from God. Abraham left his family and his father’s pagan faith to follow the vision of “a land that I will show thee.” Elisha left the field, his family, and his fortune to follow the vision of a prophet’s mantle. Peter and Andrew left their nets at the vision of being fishers of men. Adrian Rogers said, “A vision will enable you at any given moment to forsake all that you are in order to become all that you can be.” Those who can only see what everyone else can see will never be motivated to change the world.
Vision engages the impossible. When Paul was given the call to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, given his reputation and background, it must have seemed like a task of insurmountable odds to succeed. But, in Acts 26:19, Paul said, “...I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” God will often order the steps of a man to assume the burden of a task much larger than the man. Many men will faint with both fear and intimidation at such a thought. However, true vision will always beget a dependance that inspires venture. If you limit yourself only to those things that seem likely or achievable in your own strength, you will never experience the supernatural interventions of God. If God is the source of the vision, He will also be the one to sustain the vision. That is, if the vision is of Him, it can be done. I suppose the question we each must ask ourselves is this, what would you do if you knew you could not fail?” Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, “It is very dangerous to go into eternity with possibilities which one has oneself prevented from becoming realities. A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it.” The things that God will ask us to do are those things He truly could do by Himself. However, He invites us to take on the humanly impossible that we might see the miraculous. With God there is no such thing as impossible.
Vision expects the incredible. In Hebrews 11:10, we are told that as Abraham journeyed, he “...looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” While there was so much uncertainty surrounding him, Abraham had a concrete vision that saw him through the foggy places. Until a man has faith in the future, he will lack motivation in the present. But, when one can envision success, there will be confidence to advance in the direction of the vision. The reward of this faith is to see that image brought to life. The Centurion was convinced Jesus only had to speak a healing, and his servant was healed. The woman with the issue of blood was confident of what was hers if she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, and she was healed. Peter was courageous to step out of the boat when he saw Jesus walking upon the water, and he too would walk on the water. French pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote, "If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea." The motivation of vision is not as much about a goal as it is a destination. It is arriving at a spiritual place otherwise unobtainable by human effort. A man may never know what all he has forfeited when he lives with no vision.
When Disney World opened in October 1971, Walt Disney had already died. The architect, in a genuine effort to honor Walt, turned to Ms. Disney and said, "Boy, I wish Walt could have seen this!" Without ever taking her eyes off the sprawling play land, she replied, "He did. That's why it's here." Once a man can see the invisible, he will begin dreaming of the incredible, and he will find himself doing the impossible.
Your Most Proud Pastor,
© 2016 Alan Stewart