"The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
~ Helen Keller ~
Vision. It is a word that I've been thinking on a lot lately. My church recently had a "Vision Day" where we came together to focus on where the individuals in the church saw our ministry paths taking us. We met to pray, fellowship, worship and brainstorm. Literally hundreds of ministry ideas were suggested. The post-it notes were accumulated with all their ideas and entered into a spreadsheet. Now the leadership is sorting through them, grouping similar ideas together and praying for priorities. Parts of the vision may take a long time to see fruition--major renovations to our church building to make it more program-friendly. Other things were easier to identify and move forward. There was a myriad of suggestions for use of our drama team, our puppet team and doing things for the kids in the church. All-age worship was conceived and will have its first service Palm Sunday. They will be services built around a theme using drama, puppets and children's songs and will be interactive with the whole church. It sounds exciting. But it didn't just "happen." The vision was put forth by members of the church, one couple in the church "caught" that vision and allowed God to grow it. Now there is a team of a dozen people ready to move. Vision brings activity and movement.
Vision is also a clear indicator that the Spirit of God is moving, whether it is in a church setting or an individual believer's life. Joel 2:27-29 tells us:
"Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days." (emphasis mine)
I know in my own life, when I am in the Word and growing in my relationship with God is when I "dream dreams" of what God can do. I see Him at work more actively and want to see even more of Him. Admittedly, not all the dreams I dream come to fruition. I don't believe that is the point. Dreams and visions energize me. They give me hope. And they make me more aware of what God is already doing. When my vision is enlarged and attuned to seeing God at work, then I am more willing and able to allow the Spirit to change me. I believe that is what is meant in Proverbs 29:18:
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (KJV)
or in the translation of The Message:
If people can't see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.
When I "attend" to what He reveals, He changes me. My faith is vibrant. I am able to be a conduit of His glory. When I have no vision--when I see the world through worldly eyes and not heavenly ones--my faith becomes stagnant and stale. And a stagnant faith is a perishing faith. If the only sight I have is to see the troubles of this world, I might as well be blind. Vision, God's vision, is what enables me to see the world with hope. And that is truly a gift from God!
Father God, today I pray the words of that ancient Irish hymn:
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Give me vision to see the world as You see it and enable me to be a bearer of hope to it. In Jesus' Holy and life-giving name, Amen.
Today's In Other Words is hosted by Heather at Mommy Monk. Please join us there for other reflections on this quote by Helen Keller. I know that you will be blessed.
photo is courtesy of www.morguefile.com and the photographer is Andrew/MindExpansi0n.