Effective Stewardship

The Vision Thing

Ken Williams

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?

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