Proverbs 29: 18…Where there is no vision, the people perish
Habakkuk 2:2 And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
3. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it: because it will surely come, it will not tarry
Judges 2:40 And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did for Israel…and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
Joel 1: 3 Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation
Can we live without vision and purpose? Yes we can. But God says that we perish when we live without vision. The contents of any life oday, are too minor for the great life God envisioned for that life. It is the visions and purposes downloaded by God into our souls that guide the quality of our living before Him in the present, and leaving a legacy for tomorrow. Vision and purpose are fundamental to our living the life God designed for us.
So it is important to note that vision and purpose are not some fleeting imageries that tickle us. They are carefully crafted packages placed within our inner beings to make us stretch out in faith to God, and find Him as we journey. ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen’. The just shall live by faith’.
This is why our visions must be so treasured, that they are recorded. Recorded for motivation. Recorded for mobilization of help from those placed in our way to help us. Recorded for posterity to continue where we may leave off. I am absolutely convinced that when we live out the purposes designed by God for us, our personal chapters may close, without the book ending. And others would continue the story. Like the Jesus story. The Abraham story. The stories of nations, institutions, discoveries and inventions, professions and families. Sometimes it seems like a quiet pain filled story like that of Ruth, or rags to riches like Esther. But when responded to with a hand stretched out to God, they become the stuff of epics that we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams.
But it is easy to live without vision when there is no mentorship and leadership because vision and purpose are the compass that guide both personal and group leadership. It is easy to live without vision and purpose when life coasts smoothly and we see no need to set goals and work for trophies. Or when life is so difficult that we feel exhausted from the resistance. When there seems nothing to be gained or lost by the business of life. Either end of the spectrum can derail any relevance of direction. When we don’t think that there is anything to fight for. Or there seems nothing to obtain beyond what is left in our hands, because trying is too difficult.
Why did you start that business? Why did you get married? Why did you have that child? Why did you start going to church? Why did you start attending that prayer meeting? Why did you even start praying five minutes ago? Life can be a crisscross of many unfinished lanes, roads and paths. When the purpose for the journey seems lost in the push of just being, we often leave the journey, not caring that we haven’t reached the destination. Worse still, we forget where the destination was supposed to be.
Rick Warren’s ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ became a best seller because it spoke loudly to the human soul. Deep inside, we want to be assured that our individual lives have a purpose. That there is a rhyme and reason to the seeming lack of connecting threads around us. And we demand purpose because we were made with purpose, and for purpose. Each of us is a unique treasure designed to be, achieve, and give what only we can.
I think this is why the book of Judges is one of the saddest books in the Bible. And perhaps it is comparable only to the book of Ecclesiastes, with its resigned refrain of ‘All is vanity’ and authored by the satiated ‘wise man’, who had nothing more to look forward to. It is definitely worse than the book of Job with its tragic and fearsome hate drama, igniting a desperate search for reason.
And this is why we must look closely at this subject of vision and purpose. In the end, there was a purpose for Job. God was working with a vision that Job and his people could not see. So their ruminations were bitter. But we draw utter strength from their story. The vision of God triumphed. As for Solomon, he felt he had achieved anything achievable and his vision had come to its end. He lost his direction in the midst of unprecedented affluence. In the end, was he the wisest man that God envisaged?
The book of Judges starts with a stark uncovering of why life can enter the ditch of ‘no vision’, ‘purpose’ and ‘direction’. It states one of the most terrible indictments one can make of a leader. Joshua’s generation left no record of the vision and purpose that had brought them into the Promised Land.
‘And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old…..And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel ‘(Judges 2: 8, 10).
The next generations entered centuries of confused living because previous leaders failed to tell their children about the originator of the journey and the purpose of the journey.
Remembering the purpose that ignited a journey in the first place is the only tinder that will keep the flame burning. Because the going will get tough. Room is not likely to be made for you just because you say so. And the only thing that will keep you going when the going gets tough is a clear statement of why you started the journey in the first place.
Without a sense of purpose, and a clear vision of the end, anything will end before it begins. This is why God insists that each generation is brought up with clear directions on purpose and the destination of the community.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to be ‘an author and finisher’ of the visions you entrust to me. Help me to remember why I started anything in the first place – the ‘substance of things hoped for; evidence of things not seen’. Help me to keep purpose in view, so that I can sustain drive and strength until all goals are achieved.