Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” NASB
For a number of years, I have been keenly aware of the pressure associated with public ministry. There is incredible pressure in public ministry that many do not realize. The pressure is applied from ‘expectations’. The expectations of others, of self, of our perception of what others expect, and of our perception of what God expects. The pressure felt by preachers is also felt by many in the congregation and has resulted in far too many become casualties in the cause and moving into secular employment rather than continuing in the labor of the Kingdom.
Too many have become broken-hearted, distressed, and discouraged to the point of total exhaustion and have been robbed of the fruit of their labors that God so desired for them. It is not a new occurrence but one that, I believe is growing even more pronounced today.
There are many reasons for this but the one that stands out to me, especially with regard as to how to avoid discouragement and defeat is Vision! However, I must add to that list Purpose. If you include those two factors you will discover a wonderful antidote for discouragement and defeat in spiritual things and in life. Vision & Purpose play incredible roles in the life and health of the individual and the local body as well as the Body of Christ. Yet, I am convinced that little is truly understood about this vital element whose absence is a major contributor to Discouragement, Disillusionment, and Defeat!
Look at the passage above:
NASB “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained…”
NKJV “…cast off restraint…”
KJV “the people perish…”
NLT “the people run wild…”
Another “… the people become demoralized…”
Every Christian minister with any degree of experience knows that all of those are true. For a Church or ministry to go forward, the Body must become ‘yoked’ or ‘harnessed’ together by a singular vision.
Vision is like a ‘yoke’, it links two or more together so that they are able to pull in tandem. I heard an illustration years ago that resonated with me powerfully. It reported that through research it was discovered that if one horse could pull 9,000 pounds, two horses did not pull 18,000 but pulled 27,000 pounds are the equivalent of a third horse.
Without the yoke of vision, there is no restraint, either in our personal lives or in the church. We tend to pull in all directions at the same time and often are working against each other in so doing. It is like a stampede of horses or cattle running in all directions. It produces discouragement in the leadership and ultimately in the flock.
When everyone has a different vision about what to do when to do, and how to do it failure is guaranteed. Too often, it has been my observation, that there are either Too Many Visions or No Vision. When there is No Vision the people are left to formulate and attempt to initiate their own visions. God’s design and desire is that we plug our individual visions into the corporate vision making it stronger, more complete, and more viable. The result is that people continue unrestrained and pull in differing directions which creates chaos and lack of continuity. Success is impossible in that condition and situation.
Without Vision or Vision from God, none of us can stay on course. We will become too easily distracted or sidetracked. But if we have a Vision from God and develop a determined Purpose to fulfill that Vision we can stay on course and accomplish the purposes of God in our situation and according to His timing and plan.
I encourage everyone to seek to know what the Vision of your fellowship. Once you understand it I encourage you to evaluate your personal or individual vision to determine if it is consistent with the Vision of the Body. If it is not talk to the leadership about your vision, and if you can find a way to incorporate it into the overall vision that will prove to be powerful. However, if they cannot and you are totally convinced that this is a Vision from God for you then it may be that you are in the wrong fellowship. I am not trying to get anyone to leave any church but I believe that most pastors would agree that ‘two cannot walk together unless they be agreed.’
God bless you as you discover God’s Vision for you and God’s Vision for the Local Body!