“Where there is no [vision], the people [perish]; but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Proverbs 29:18
There are books upon books about creating and developing vision. In the church, this verse in Proverbs is quoted repeatedly to pastors. We are admonished to create and cast vision to the people. And, if our church fails, it is ultimately because we failed to cast the vision well.
I am all about vision, and I believe pastors have an obligation to the people. We are obligated to preach, teach, encourage, and inspire. If we are leaders, then we should be…leading. But I think we have taken this verse out of context.
The word here for “vision” can also be translated prophecy or revelation. And without a revelation, we will perish. The word for “perish” means to cast off restraints. In other words, live any way we see fit. So the author of proverbs wants us to understand that without a revelation [from God], we will throw off all constraints and live however we want to live, and we will perish.
God gave His people a revelation when He handed down the Law through Moses. It was God’s revelation to the people on how they should live. But they did not have the power; they couldn’t do it. So God gave the people another revelation through Jesus Christ. Christ came to show us (rather than tell us) how to live. And He gave us the Holy Spirit to enable us to do it. Now that is a vision!
As the Church, our vision (or revelation) is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. He is God revealed to mankind. Jesus has come to save us and to change us. He has come to make us a holy people. And our response is to follow Him and tell others about God’s revelation. So our ultimate vision for the Church is to know Christ and help reveal Him to a lost and hurting world.
Today, the concept of vision in the church is imperative. We must reveal to our congregations what God has in mind for our unique faith communities. However, if we do not have a vision or revelation of Christ in our own hearts and minds, then we will never have the passion to carry this vision into the rest of the world.
Said the night wind to the little lamb,
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb,
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite,
With a tail as big as a kite.”
Said the king to the people everywhere,
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people, everywhere,
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light,
He will bring us goodness and light.”