March 11 of the famous devotional selections by Oswald Chambers, the namesake passage says “the only way to be obedient to the Heavenly vision is to give our utmost for God’s highest and this can only be done by continually and resolutely recalling the vision… though it tarry, wait for it… we must live in the inspiration of it until it accomplishes itself…” And I would add that if our vision is not “God-sized” and eternal in scope then we will often “attain it” and then stop moving forward. Our vision needs to be large enough that it stays out in front of us and keeps us moving forward.
Yes, we need “way points” that we attain along the way to the vision. At the “way points” we 1) assess our progress, 2) rest from and refuel for the struggle, 3) celebrate the achievements though we are not done, 4) reevaluate our process, and 5) move on toward the vision. “Way points” are part of the mission toward the vision, and they are measurable and attainable. Big Vision, is always “out there”.
Chambers says that sometimes we get so “practical” that we can forget the vision. Or perhaps we lay aside the vision thinking rationally, or “realistically”. We say, “we can’t do that.” So, we settle for less than the vision. Again Chambers says, “waiting for the vision that tarries is the test of our loyalty to God. It is the peril of our soul’s welfare that we get caught up in the practical work and miss the fulfillment of the vision.”
“Practical” is important but only as “way points” toward the Vision that is “CRAZY”. Leader, if you aren’t moving toward something “crazy” you probably aren’t attempting something God-sized.
Chamber’s devotion focuses on 1 verse in Acts 26 where Paul is talking to King Agrippa. He testifies about meeting Jesus. Think about this, at Paul’s revelatory encounter on the road to Damascus, he had to embrace Jesus by Faith, but also hear and wrestle with the Vision for his life. Acts 26;15 “I am Jesus” – Ok… wait… what do I do with that? And then Jesus says, “I have appeared for this purpose…” Jesus always appears for a purpose. And he tells Paul it is “to appoint you as a servant… witness… what you have seen… will see… the Gentiles… I am sending you to them to open eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share… sanctified by faith in me.”
WOW – Paul is being called to embrace Jesus as Lord, Messiah, but also to expand the “family” to Gentiles. And when would this end? Well, I guess when there were no more Gentiles outside the family. “Well, that’s not practical. Let’s settle for a way point.” NO NO NO don’t settle
At our church, we embrace a vision seeking to be a “church like Heaven” as seen in Revelation 7:9 every race, tribe, color, and tongue before the throne.” When or Where does that end? In Heaven, but we are trying to reflect it on earth. What do we see? A Diverse family of Christ followers, Displaying the Glory of God unified by Love, and Telling His Marvelous Story. That story is a story of opportunity for all who believe. So, what are we doing? Loving God, One Another, and our Community. Serving God, One Another, and our Community, and seeing Transformation in our Community, in our Homes, in our Lives. But then we define some way points in the transformation process. Transformation FROM Seekers to Believers, Believers to Worshipers, Worshipers, to Disciples, Disciples to Servants and Missionaries. Well there are a lot of Way Points there, but the whole thing is a vision, a crazy vision, virtually unattainable, but we keep moving. Do we look like Heaven yet? Do we look like our Community yet?
Then is that little verse that Chambers references, v19 “I was not disobedient to the vision” Wow! Yes. Not, well that’s unrealistic. Not, well that’s hard. He didn’t say he was perfect or even whether we thought he’d complete it, but he was pursuing it. And v20 so I preached. Instead of disobeying the vision, I preached… repent… turn… do worthy works. And then he says they seized me, trying to kill me.
Oh fellow traveler, leader, journeyman, Obedience doesn’t mean EAZE. So, in order to be like Heaven, we commit to Act Like Heaven, and we seek to Look Like Heaven, then eventually and from time to time, we Feel Like Heaven, but we keep Acting Like until Faith becomes Sight.
I love / hate Proverbs 29:18 – where there is no vision the people perish – the CSB renders it without revelation, people RUN WILD, but the one who follows divine instruction will BE HAPPY … Yes
Vision Keep Us Moving toward Crazy, Unrealistic, God-sized goals – but they ARE REAL in what matters and for what Lasts. Hit the way points – rest, assess, celebrate, evaluate, and move on, until faith becomes sight!