Vision for Living (cont.) – The Strength of Vision
Where there is no vision the people perish, but whoever keeps the Law, happy is he.
Many of us are convinced of the importance of a Biblical vision and understand its significance. But we have also experienced the weakening of our vision. Sometimes life wears us down.
What keeps one’s vision from weakening or even disappearing? What gives it strength and keeps it strong? Where does the strength of your vision lie?
The Preservation of Your Vision (Whoever keeps the Law…)
As long as I can remember, my Dad has loved to garden. After all the presents have been opened and Christmas dinner is over, my Dad reaches over for his seed catalog. He’s thinking about his garden: breaking the ground, planting the seed, using the tiller. He can anticipated the fruit of his labor: new potatoes, green beans, bell peppers, and fried corn.
Vision or Gardening?
Now you perhaps you are thinking; “What’s this guy’s Father’s gardening practices have to do with a vision for life?” It is interesting that the word used in Genesis 2:15 for Adam’s God-given responsibility to “keep” the Garden of Eden is the same word in our text; “whoever keeps the Law”. To preserve a God-given vision, to put a strong foundation under it, you must in a sense do what Adam was responsible to do in the Garden. We must do what my Father does as a gardener. What are those elements of “keeping” the Law in its best sense, certainly not in a pharisaic sense?
One element is anticipation. My Dad naturally anticipates gardening. Winter is a natural and necessary interruption from this blessed pursuit. But in the back of his mind is this latent anticipation of spring and gardening.That is why he almost unconsciously picks up that catalog. Anticipation is not necessarily an outward giddiness. It is a matter of the heart.
This leads us to a the second element of law keeping: joyfulness. My Dad finds joy in his gardening. And don’t you imagine Adam did, in his unfallen state? His God-given responsibility was also his delight, even as my Father’s garden is his delight.
Another element is preparation. Dad thinks through the process, orders the seed, and prepares the ground. He does not jump into the garden with no preparation.
If you are going to have a garden and its fruit, you must work. That includes weeding, cultivating, and fertilizing.
Everything leads to the time of reaping what you sow. The process of gardening is joyful in itself. But the whole thing would be anticlimactic without the fried corn. And don’t you imagine Adam enjoyed the fruit of his labor?
These are the elements of law keeping that preserve and strengthen a Biblical vision. It is not enough to say (at 14, 18, 30, or 50) I have a vision. You have to tend the “garden” of your vision throughout your life. You live with this latent anticipation of Christ’s work, and a joyful expectation. You cultivate a mind and life to be receptive to what God has for you. Then you have those times of getting in the Word and working the “garden”. Jesus said; “He who has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21).
The Satisfaction of Your Vision ( …happy is he.)
Why is it that the people around us are never satisfied? Whatever new thing the world offers, they must have. They are trying to satisfy their soul with stuff, when the soul is made to be satisfied with God. But you can be confident that the pursuit of your God-given vision brings genuine satisfaction, for ultimately it is the pursuit of God Himself.
The Psalmist said; “The meek shall eat and be satisfied…” (Psalm 22:26). “My soul shall be satisfied …” (Psalm 63:5) “…He satisfies the longing soul.”(Psalm 107:9) “I shall be satisfied when I awake with Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15) “You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures forever more.” (Psalm 16:11)
Many years ago a young man grew up in a conservative, Midwestern community in Indiana. He completed his education, then began to pursue a career. Early on he was offered the opportunity to take a position in Minnesota or one in Los Angeles, California. He was very interested in the opportunity in Minnesota, but the people there seemed to drag their feet, and after seeking wise council, he accepted the offer in L.A. He worked there in anonymity for several years, investing himself in others while applying the simple lessons he learned as a young man.
It was not until the early 1960’s that he began to make some waves in his profession, and by the mid- 60s, he was a force to be reckoned with. So it was that from the mid-60s to the mid-70s the name John Wooden became synonymous with NCAA Championship. But he only got there by pursuing excellence and investing in the next generation day by day, week by week, year by year: “the vision comes through much work”.
Each of us is grinding it out. Our choices are pegs on which we climb toward the future. We would do well to ask ourselves before God how our choices will affect the next generation. While we depend totally upon The Lord, we live with a Biblical sense of responsibility for the direction of our lives.
CHOICES AND PREPARATION
John Maxwell relates the story of a time when he and his leadership team were landing in Atlanta after a seven day, twenty city book tour. There was a celebratory mood among them until the plane hit a wind shear and dropped straight down towards the runway. In seconds the mood changed from celebration to fear as they each realized “this could be it”. They quietly waited as the plane circled then landed safely.
As they left the plane, they congratulated the pilot who had quickly pushed the throttle and projected the plane back into the air. As he left the plane John asked the pilot; “When did you make the decision to put the plane back into the air?” Surprisingly the pilot responded: “Fifteen years ago”. As a young pilot in training, he had decided in advance what decision he would make for every possible air problem. “The choice was made long before the crisis,” he said. (John Maxwell; Leadership Gold, chapter 20).
Choices affect direction, and our vision affects our choices. And our choices should be made with a view to the next generation. Sometimes course corrections are necessary, but we keep moving forward, always with the next generation in view. Our goal, at least in part, is to leave a legacy of Godliness, an inheritance of eternal worth that will not fade away: “That the generation to come might know [Christ]… That they might set their hope in God…” (Psalm 78:6, 7)