In retrospect, George H. W. Bush (U.S. President #41) probably did a good job as President of the United States. Although history will judge more fully his role, most people would agree that Mr. Bush kept the country on a steady course.
One of the difficulties Mr. Bush had as President was communicating his ideas and values, especially his vision for the nation. Out of frustration, he frequently referred to it as “the vision thing.”
What is “the vision thing” and why is it important to churches? Vision is seeing the end result before beginning a project. It is the motivation that drives us to excel. And for Christians, it is the energy that comes from deep convictions based on how we see and understand God.
If, like Isaiah, we see God “high and lifted up,” far above all that we see around us or could ever imagine, then our vision of life itself will take on a different perspective. In reality, the effectiveness of our Christian service all starts and ends with how we perceive God.
Beyond that, however, our vision affects how we live. If our vision is focused on the short-term, then we will live with a frame of reference that is, indeed, short-term. We will tend to give credence to whatever is urgent, to other people’s priorities for us, to our own feelings and moods, and to what is taking place in our lives at any given moment.
If, on the other hand, our vision is long-term, we will tend to be guided by the principles upon which we base our lives. We will identify closely with the individual who said, “The important is seldom urgent, and the urgent is seldom important.” We will begin to give attention to what is really important instead of to what is demanding our attention at the moment.
This is particularly relevant to stewardship in a church. If your vision of stewardship is limited to next Sunday’s offering, your actions will be based on that vision as you move from crisis to crisis. If, however, your vision has been expanded to a long-term perspective, then you will realize the importance of training people to be stewards so that they might develop a stewardship lifestyle that will affect both next Sunday’s offering and the offerings for many years to come.
By the way, how’s your vision, especially for stewardship?