What’cha lookin’ at?

visionI was sad and mad at the same time; and scared, in a good way, by the subtle power of sin. It was another story of a good pastor going down in flames, removed from his pulpit for personal failure.  He founded a church 16 years ago that grew amazingly, last count being that on a given Sunday, he ministered the Word about 30, 000 people.  But, along the way the numbers became too important.

The pursuit of success replaced his passion for Christ. He offered this confession, his own words – there was an “obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 and beyond, it has come at a personal cost in my own life and created a strain on my marriage.” The strain of ‘success’ turned a godly man into an alcoholic and the elders of the church, after many attempts to help him get it right, took action.

So, how’s your vision? It is possible to do right things for wrong reasons. Motives matter!

Jesus said “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding. “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” (Matthew 6:1-5, The Message)

vision1We all need vision.  What kind of person do I want to be? The kind of Dad, pastor, friend, neighbor that I am will flow out of the bundle of values, ideals, principles, and models that fill my mind. Those things form ‘vision.’ I begin to ‘see’ the life that I desire long before I live it. (And so do you!)  Formation of our vision is critical.  Where the Holy Spirit is welcomed, when the Word is loved, when our fellows are godly – a worthy vision can begin to take shape.  However, as my opening shows, we must refine and protect our vision. It can become twisted along the way, corrupted by bitterness of disappointment or reshaped around ego, especially when we find a measure of success!

Have you ever attempted to write a ‘vision statement’ for your life? Just about every year for the last two decades one of my annual practices is to take some time to think about who am I, who I want to be, the will of my Father, and the ways I am living.  I put all that together in a few simple paragraphs.  I print that page and keep it where I can read it and ask myself, “Are you keeping your vision intact and on point?”  Don’t underestimate the power of that exercise.

On this Monday morning, how about doing a little inner check-up? Prayerfully ask God, the Holy Spirit, to shine His light into your inner person. Invite Him to shape and refine your vision. Here is a word from the Word.

“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” (Eph 1:17-19 The Message)

___________

 

Be Thou my vision,

O Lord of my heart.

Naught be all else to me

Save that Thou art.

Thou my best thought,

By day or by night,

Waking or sleeping,

Thy presence my light.

 

 

Be Thou my wisdom,

Be Thou my true Word.

I ever with Thee

And Thou with me, Lord.

Thou my great Father,

I Thy true son.

Thou in me dwelling

And I with Thee one.

 

Riches I heed not

Nor man’s empty praise;

Thou mine inheritance,

Now and always.

Thou and Thou only,

Be first in my heart.

High King of heaven.

My treasure, Thou art!

 

High King of heaven

When vict’ry is won,

May I reach heaven’s joys;

O bright heaven’s Sun!

Heart of my own heart,

Whatever befall,

Still be my vision,

O Ruler of all.

 

Be Thou My Vision

Eleanor Henrietta Hull | Mary Elizabeth Byrne

© Words: Public Domain

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