SUBJECT - NO VISION, NO FUTURE!!! [PT.1]
The message for this month, and for the next month or so, has to deal with a very important attribute of the Gospel, that many don't really think about, but is a key factor in all of our lives.
That factor is, Hope. Another name for it is, vision. The two of them can be easily combined or exchanged to mean the same thing.
Since I used the scripture saying where there is no vision, the people perish, I will elaborate on it, but keep in mind, I am still talking about hope.
What does this scripture mean when it says 'where there is no vision??'
Essentially, it means there is no way of escape, deliverance, advancement or any other situation where a person can see a way to better themselves or condition in life.
The key to life is setting goals for oneself, and to continually pursue that goal as long as you live. It is that 'goal' that is the vision a person has that gives them a reason to continue on the path that they are on.
From the time a person is born, their parents have the vision of raising them, in this nation, to be a successful contributor to society. Unlike in some other countries, where there is very little chance for that to take place, America, thanks to God, presents every opportunity imaginable for that to happen.
That is why, this nation draws so many people from all over the world. We are a beacon of hope for just about everyone. And as such, many of them will risk every thing they have, including their lives to get here.
We can say that life, is a series of goals that are instilled in us from the time we were children, to keep our eyes on 'the prize', so to speak, so that when all is said and done, we can look back and see that we have been a success in life.
Now, let's look at several examples where vision/hope play a key role in the life of an individual, so that we can see what a lack of that vision/hope, can do.
Using myself as an example first, I can remember when I first started school, my mother, who by the way, raised me by herself, kept telling me that I needed to stay in school to get a good education, so that I could get a good job, when I grew up.
On the north end part of the city of Detroit, back in the 50's and the early 60's, while I was in school, I really didn't see much sense to knocking my brains out to get a good education, because back then, as a young black child, my exposure to anything that even smelled of success were the people I saw every day that were running numbers, pimps, and gamblers.
Of course, my mother, who was self employed as a beautician that worked out of our home, was an example of someone that never stopped working to make a better life for herself, and me. She knew that there was a better life out there for us, and she was willing to keep on working to achieve it.
Now, let's say for instance my mother didn't have the vision to want to better herself. She may not have felt that I needed to stay in school to get a good education, because there was nothing out there for us to strive for.
The end result of that type of mindset is a person that is completely useless as a human being and as a productive member of society.
This nation is where it is today, because of people having a vision/hope, of better things in life, and pursuing them.
There were many times, while I was in school, I felt comfortable with our station of life, because we lived in an apartment building, and most of my friends lived in that building.
Some of my mom's customers that came to our apartment, lived in rented houses. I don't remember if any of them actually owned a house, so as far as I was concerned, as long as I could hustle up enough money to pay my rent, that was being successful.
When I got in to junior high school, we moved out of that apartment building in to a rented house. That is when I got my first taste of living in a place where there was more freedom to do and have things, that we couldn't in the building.
We had a back yard, a porch to sit on, we didn't have to wait for the building maintenance man to turn on the heat when it got cold. We had a little more freedom to make a little more noise, and a lot of other things.
But one of the bigger things that moving showed me, was the fact that some of my new friends, lived in houses, that were owned by their parents. This was something new to me. Black people owning the houses they lived in.
How could that be???
Their parents were educated, in one instance, and the other, there were two, had a good high paying job at an automobile factory.
My exposure to them, was enough get me to see the benefits of staying in school and striving to better myself in life.
A lot of times, it takes moving out of your comfort zone, before you can be exposed to things that will give you the incentive to the possibilities that life, in this nation has to offer.
You know, in the bible story of Abram[later called Abraham], God told him to leave the land where he had been raised and was doing quite well, and go in to a land, that he knew nothing about, and that God would bless him, which he did.[Gen 12:1-3].
If you know the story of Abraham, you know that because of his obedience to the vision/hope that God gave him, he is forever known as the 'father of faith.'
Here, God provided the vision, but, Abraham had to make the choice to pursue it.
If you will notice, in one example the vision was provided by those that I acquainted myself with, while the other was provided by God. And, in both cases, the choice to pursue that vision rested on the individual. That means success is not going to force itself on you. You will have to go after it.
Getting back to the situation with acquaintances. As I mentioned earlier, it took our moving from one place, leaving those that I had known all my life, and making new friends and associates, for me to really grasp what my mother was telling me.
Friends are good to have, but, some times you may have to leave them for awhile, or permanently in extreme cases, in order to improve yourself. I mean, if a friend is trying to get you to stay in the rut that they are in, because they have no vision, then, quite frankly, you are going to regret it in the end.
Besides, what better way for you to be a friend to that person than for you to leave them, find success, then come back and help them out of their situation?? You could be the one to provide the vision for them.
I know people today, and in my past, that are/were as intelligent as you can get, but yet, because they are surrounded by what most of us would call 'riff raff', they see nothing more for themselves than being hustlers, pimps, prostitutes and drug dealers.
There is an old saying that if you hang around dogs, you are likely to end up with fleas!!
However, the real gist of this message is just exactly what is the relationship between vision/hope, obedience, and the Gospel??
As I mentioned earlier in the case of Abraham, God provided the vision, and all that Abraham had to do, was be obedient.
The same thing holds true for us today. He has provided us with promises of blessings, and all we have to do is act on the things He wants us to do, and 'bam'
there they are.
It is one thing to see those that are not in the family of God, going around and feeling like there is nothing worth living for. But to see a Christian with that type of attitude, is pathetic. The problem with them is, they either don't know what God has in store for them, or they have lost sight of the vision, and have resorted to some other means to achieve what they feel is good for them.
Just as God has provided us with the vision of what is in store for those that walk uprightly before Him, He also provides the vision of what will be the outcome of those that refuse to.
It is not necessarily God's intention to scare us in to being obedient to Him, as much as it is to let us know the entire picture of why we should obey Him.
If we look at life from the practical, carnal standpoint, from the past up to today, we will see just how advanced mankind has become over the centuries.
All of these have come about because someone had a vision, of things they believed would make life a little better for them, and us, and set out to pursue it.
Now, we must consider a few things.
The first thing is, how do these visions come about??
These visions usually start or grow from a need. As we go through this journey called life, there are times when we have or will face something that will cause us to desire a means to overcome or better our condition [physical or spiritual].
It is during these times that we will begin to ponder a means by which we can achieve that 'goal.'
Over the course of time, one might go through a series of experiments of trials and errors, until that goal is either achieved, or deemed to be unobtainable.
In some instances, a person may find that their 'vision' will take more time than they may have in life to reach, but is so important to not only themselves but, mankind, that they will pursue it as long as they can, and then pass it on to someone else to continue.
Examples can range from personal achievements up to finding cures for diseases, and even space travel.
In the case of personal goals, one has to do a lot of research in to what it will take to bring that vision in to reality.
The two main things it will usually take is time and money.
If either one of the two is in short supply then, the vision will be limited to how long they hold out.
Some times, if the vision is important enough, a person may seek the help of others to bring that goal to pass.
As you have probably already noticed, the goal/vision is limited to what is available, talking about time and money. If either one runs out, then the vision will essentially be seen as unattainable, and will eventually be forgotten about.
Now, contrast that situation with a vision that is given to a person by God.
The first thing we could say is, if it is given to a person by God, then it quite naturally will be backed by God. And what do we know about Him??? He will provide all that is needed to bring that vision to pass. There is nothing that can stop it, as long as the person adheres to what God says.
You see, the bible says that God, watches over His Word to perform it[Jer. 1:12, Ezekiel 12:25].
That is quite an assurance to know that nothing is impossible for men, if God has promised it to him.
As I have mentioned, every advancement that we have in this world today, even to going to the moon and back, started out as a vision of what could be, if every thing worked out right.
One of the biggest hindrances to a vision being fulfilled is the fact that there are always roadblocks that have to be overcome. The bigger the vision, the bigger the roadblock. These advancements came about because, in a lot of instances, ordinary people like you and I, saw a need for something, and went about pursuing it for days, weeks, months, years and even beyond. [part 2 next month]