Jonathan Swift wrote in 1699, “Vision is the art of seeing the invisible.”
It was a heartfelt “vision to reach the unreached” that sent Dr. John Geddie to the people at Aneityum. Today a stone tablet bears testimony of Geddie’s vision for these unreached people and his faithfulness for 24 years of service. Its inscription is a challenge to us today:
When he landed in 1848, there were no Christians.
When he left in 1872, there were no heathen.
Geddie had a vision—a dream—and he gave his life to the fulfillment of it. Just one man. One man whose life bore the mark of the eternal invading the temporal.
But not all people look at the future with such expectancy. Maybe you know someone who lacks vision. If you do, that person has some pretty famous company. I came across the following group of quotes, which illustrate that the seemingly unthinkable is not impossible:
“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
Charles H. Duell, Director
U.S. Patent Office—1899
“Who the &%# wants to hear actors talk?”
Harry M. Warner
Warner Brothers Pictures—1927
“Heavier than air flying machines are impossible.”
Lord Kelvin, President
“Babe Ruth made a big mistake when he gave up pitching”
Baseball player and record holder—1921
Not exactly the kind of “visions” referred to by Jonathan Swift and lived by Dr. John Geddie, are they? I have to wonder what visions and dreams are buried, forgotten, and dismissed in a similar way today as either impossible or unwise.
We remember Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, but when was the last time you had one? A dream of true renaissance? A dream of change, of radical departure from the norm?
What happened to our dreams?
If we as Christians have a direct relationship with the Creator of heaven and earth (and we do), then doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be the most innovative and creative people on earth?
Do you believe that God is through with creating? Or do you believe that God has an eternal purpose, a destiny for your life? For your mate? Your children? Your grandchildren? Do you believe that God can give you a vision for your world that will capture you for the rest of your life?
Questions for all of us are: Do I really want to know the Creator’s vision, for my life? Do I want it to become a reality? Am I willing to follow Him at all cost?
Listen carefully to the words of Paul: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
The Christian life is not just fire insurance. It is an opportunity to walk daily within the will of God. It is the opportunity to lay up eternal treasures in heaven. It is the opportunity to lead others into Christ’s kingdom.
What is your dream?
When you dream, do you dream about the things of God, the truly permanent, or the things of the world, the truly perishable? What are you uniquely burdened for? What injustice causes you to pound the table and weep? A godly vision for your life will be characterized by incensed indignation toward the status quo. It will rock boats—remember, they crucified our Savior because He shook up “the system.”
A godly vision will be fueled by what could be and what should be. It is an earnest quest for God’s alternative.
Does your family have a vision that will affect the present and the eternal? Or are you just drifting with the flow of things?
Are you teaching your children that they have a destiny for their life? Are you adding fuel to their dreams and visions or throwing water on them? Are you helping them see the eternal in the midst of time?
Do you want your family to follow you? No one follows an insignificant person with trivial goals.
One of the major reasons we have an identity crisis today in our culture is that we have lost a sense of destiny. There is no calling. No real mission. The feeling pervades that “nothing is truly worthy of my life.”
Finding our dreams
So how do I get a sense of mission? How do I gain a vision for my life and family?
First, pray—ask God to so burden your heart with someone or something that you can’t let it go. By the way, this process may take several months. Sometimes I think God wants to see if we’re really serious about the whole thing!
Second, look back over the way the tapestry of your life has been woven. Are there any threads that continue to show up repeatedly? God may have been preparing you for just this moment, and for just this set of circumstances.
Third, begin to take your idea to just a few friends, beginning with your mate and family. Be careful here, sometimes the Christian community can be intimidated and threatened with a burden from the Lord. It’s sort of guilt producing to listen to another’s vision when you don’t have one of your own!
Fourth, count the cost (Luke 14) and then do something about it.
Fifth, be warned. Once God has directed, it is in our best interest to obey. Remember Jonah?
The needs of the present
One final note, in dreaming of the future, don’t overlook the needs of the present. Recently I have asked many of our friends this question:
If you could accomplish only one thing this year what would it be?
Why not answer that question and then write your answer on two index cards. Give one to your mate or a close friend who will hold you accountable, and then put the other on your calendar—every month. Then begin to pencil into your schedule what you will need to do in order to meet that objective.
May you follow Christ in being a dreamer and gaining a vision for your life and your family.
Copyright © 2006 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.