by Ray Ewers
When the Psalmist prayed in Psalm 119:18, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law”, he recognized the need for supernatural aid in understanding the Scriptures. Paul prayed in Ephesians 1 “That God … may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened”. Spiritual vision is based upon divine insight and wisdom. It is a divine revelation of God’s heart to our heart, and grips us with a passionate concern, that awakens a responsive action.
In Matthew 9:36-38, Jesus taught His disciples by example what it meant to have a vision for lost souls. He saw the people wandering like sheep, scattered and helpless in desperate need of a Guide and Shepherd. He was training them regarding the vision for labourers in His harvest field. When enlightened to this divine revelation, they, like their Master, would also be moved with compassion, not only to pray for labourers, but to become the answer to their prayer and become labourers themselves.
Our key verse tells us that to have no vision will cause people to perish. Not only will the lost perish because of the unconcern of God’s people, but also believers’ vitality can suffer when they become spiritually indifferent to what is on God’s heart, and wallow in luke-warmness and mediocrity.
For the first 35 years of my life I did not consciously operate in terms of vision. Graciously God introduced me to those who, in obedience to God’s plan of salvation, had a vision of multiplying reproducers (i.e. those who can reproduce labourers) to reach the world. I saw the significance of 2 Timothy 2:2:
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also,
and, also became aware of the worth of an individual:
A little one (with vision) shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time (Isaiah 60:22).
My eyes were opened to these wonderful promises of God, and such divine enlightenment moved me to a passionate concern, that resulted in responsive obedience.
From these godly men, who were obedient to this vision, I also learned:
Never do something that someone else can do, when there is so much to be done, that people either cannot do it, or will not do it.
I discovered that not many Christians were able to reproduce multiplying labourers, nor did many have the heart to do it.
Vision is caught not taught. It must be Bible based, and Holy Spirit enlightened. Like Abraham, someone with vision staggers not at the promise of God through unbelief but is strong in faith (Romans 4:20-21). Paul was strong in the grace of God and was not disobedient to the heavenly vision to which he was called. Timothy caught this vision to take the things learned from Paul, and to commit them to faithful men, with the vision that these men would teach others also. Thus the principle of multiplication, of reproducing labourers, becomes far more powerful than addition.
As we see global indicators pointing to the near return of the Lord, it behoves us to make the most of the time that we have left to ‘catch’ God’s vision. This means getting on our heart what is on God’s heart, and learning to wholeheartedly say with Paul, “This one thing I do”. This will require repentance, a withdrawal from mediocrity, and an honesty to forsake sin and self. It will also mean a fixing of our gaze by faith upon things unseen, which are eternal.
God is still seeking today “…to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect (or strongly reliant) toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
An evangelist named Varley, spent a night in prayer with D. L. Moody. As they walked together in the morning Varley said, “the world is yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to Him”. Later, Moody after meditating upon this vision thought: “A man, any man, he did not have to be educated or brilliant, – just a man.” He prayed, “Well, by the Holy Spirit, I will be that man”.
The need of the hour, according to Dawson Trotman, who was a man of vision, is:
an army of soldiers dedicated to Christ who believe not only that He is God, but that He can fulfil every promise He ever made, and that there is not anything that is too hard for Him.
As an old man God has given me a fresh vision from Psalm 71:18- 19, and I am holding on until he comes or calls. Let us learn to wait only upon God, so that our expectation is upon Him alone, and we too are obedient to the heavenly vision.
Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! (Psalm 71:18-19).