The Vision Thing – Forcing us to excellence

Published 7:00 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

By Michael J. Brooks

I’ve never forgotten where the Apostle Paul had his famous Macedonian vision after Dr. Bryan asked this on a test in New Testament class and I hadn’t a clue. But Dr. Luke states clearly that Paul was in Troy—the city made famous by the beautiful Helen whose “face launched a thousand ships,” according to Christopher Marlowe. This vision was significant since it meant Paul left Asia and traveled to Europe. Macedonia was the northern province in Greece. He visited Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea and planted a gospel flag in each city.

President George H.W. Bush called it “the vision thing.” Every person needs a life-changing vision to force us to excellence.

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I talked with a career planner once and he bluntly told me I was a great manager and a poor visionary. I am a good manager and have learned to do good administration because I’ve done such poor administration! Many times I assumed things would go as planned, but many times they didn’t. So one learns management by walking around in the ruins of bad planning!

Management is necessary because the machinery does need grease. But if all we do is manage, then we limit our achievement. Sometimes we think that good is good enough and we’re content with the status quo. But in that sense, the good can be the enemy of the best.

Soon we’ll stand on the precipice of a new year. This is naturally a time we think of improvements, and every Christian should envision 2024 to end being better Christians than we were at the end of 2023.

One way to improve is to institute a daily devotional time. Most churches supply devotional guides to their members, and there are countless apps now that offer daily readings and prayers, or that will read scripture to us as we commute or do household chores.

Scripture further teaches that every Christian is gifted by God’s Spirit in at least one venue. Thus, not only are we commanded to serve the Lord, but we’re gifted to serve the Lord. This is a great time to complete a simple spiritual gifts inventory and begin one’s gift discovery if not done already. Many church websites such as ours include an inventory like this.

But every church needs a vision, too. We can’t just “hold services” and think we’ve fulfilled our responsibilities. We’re called to be fruitful and to be a blessing to our communities. The new year is a great time for a church “dream team” to pray for guidance and determine what new ministries can be accomplished to God’s glory.

Every Christian and every church needs a vision of what we can be and do with God’s help. 

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.