Helen Keller said, “The only thing worse than having no sight, is having sight, but no vision.”
So what is vision?
Biblical vision is seeing what God wants you to see.
God sees all things and I see very little. There are times when God enables me to see what He sees for His glory and purposes here on earth. In 2 Kings 6 Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant to see. Up to this point, the servant could only see the surrounding enemy. And Elisha prayed, and said, “LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” God gave vision to Elisha’s servant to see what He wanted him to see.
We are all going somewhere in life. In Christ, our end is assured. One day we will be with the Lord forever. But the question remains, “Where are you going in this life?”
Andy Stanley, in his book Visioneering said, “Life is a journey.... Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose. Those are the ones with vision.... Vision gives significance to the otherwise meaningless details of our lives... A clear vision enables you to see everything differently.”
In the business world companies live and die by their vision statement. The goal is to clearly communicate who they are to anyone who asks: to give the big picture.
Disney: To make people happy. (Clearly this company hasn’t stood in a line at Disneyland for a long time! #bitter)
Ikea: To create a better every day life for the many people. (If you can put it together without going insane. #confused)
So where do we get vision?
Unlike a company where vision is the expression of a great idea, biblical vision starts with God. It has to be His idea. In Habakkuk 2:2 God told Habakkuk, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. God wanted Habakkuk to write down the vision so that others could read it and run with it. This is casting vision. It is seeing what God sees and helping others to see it too.
In Scripture we see many different ways in which God’s servants cast vision: Elisha prayed and
Many of the prophets wrote vision down.
Jesus often cast vision by example (washing feet).
God told Habakkuk to write the vision down that those who read it can run with it. Vision needs to be clearly communicated so that others can catch it.
Having vision is critical. If what God has shown you involves others, then clarifying vision is equally important. This means that we need to learn to communicate what God has shown us so that others can help put into action God’s purposes.
Writing your God-given vision down is an effective form of communication. There is a difference between what I believe I have heard from God and the ability to express that to others. Sometimes I prematurely speak on a new vision and the result is more gibberish then I had expected. It seemed so clear in my head but once it came out it was like a foreign language! Writing it down can be helpful.
Another helpful tool is taking what you believe God has shown you and sharing it with others who can help you gain greater clarity. If God is giving you vision that involves others then don’t be afraid to bring people in.
One final thought ...
As important as good communication is in casting vision, let’s not forget the importance of certainty.
In Acts 16 (vv.6-10) Paul was on his second missionary journey. Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us. Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."
Twice God shut the door on Paul and the men serving with him. The whole team stopped. Everybody was wondering and waiting. Then Paul came to them and said, “God gave me a vision.” If ever there was a time for Paul to be a little gun shy this might have been it. What if I heard wrong? I don’t want to be responsible for slowing others down!
Paul didn’t let “No” scare him from taking steps of faith. He heard from God, shared it with others and they “concluded that it was the Lord.” Paul didn’t come with a slick plan to convince people that this was the right direction. Not with a slogan but with great sincerity. Paul spoke with the conviction that this was God’s will.
God help us to hear from Him and to clearly communicate His vision.