Vision (Lent #12)

visionOne of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received came as I prepared to move from my first full-time appointment as a pastor.  The plaque bearing Proverbs 29:18 has followed me since.

A reminder to lead.  A call to remember the importance of vision.

For some time I read the words of Psalm 29 in a very personal way.   My leadership.  My vision.  My task then was to help those I wanted to lead to understand, buy-into, and adopt my vision.  Leadership as vision dispenser.  I got it.  You need it.  Come and get it.

Not only is this position incredibly arrogant, it is a misrepresentation.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Stated another way, “When there is no word from God (vision), the people will wander aimlessly (they will perish)”.

Not a word from me.  Not a word from some great author.  Not a word from a musician.  Not a word from a politician.

A word from God.

God supplies the vision.

And what word has been the root of all the vision God has shared?  Love.

Leading with vision then is the call of the prophet.  To share the word God has given,  to call the people back to a relationship with God and with each other.  I start to believe this is a dangerous plaque hanging on my wall.  If I adopt this call as my own, I may very well find myself saying unpopular things at inopportune times.  I may not find ears willing to hear the message I would proclaim.

But is leadership ever easy?  Is true leadership more than a popularity contest?  Does God worry about being palatable to the people?

Or does God wish us to live?  To flourish?  To settle in a land flowing with milk and honey?  Does God call leaders to speak the truth in love even today?

I’m telling you friends, God does.  God loves us, of this I have no doubt.  And so, vision.  A call to repentance.  An invitation back to relationship.

At least, I affirm that is what God is doing for and in me.  I am finding God working on my hardened heart.  I am finding a renewed call to love God and love neighbor…as simple and as difficult as that.

But oh, what a vision!  Can you picture it?  A world where we cared at least as much for others as we do ourselves.  A world where relationship was valued over stuff and things and status.

Life is better together,

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