This morning in Chapel we had a guest speaker from Berea, Kentucky named Mitchell Tolle who is a well known artist. He also pastors the Man-O-War Church of God congregation in Man-O-War, Ky. His subject was "Vision" and he did an extra-ordinarily good job with it. Quite frankly most ministers I have heard speak on the subject did not leave me inspired but rather left me somewhat depressed. When I hear this verse quoted it is almost always with emphasis on "dreaming big". Very frequently they will say something like, "God has given me a vision to build a million dollar facility for my church. I cannot see how we're gonna pay for it, but I'm gonna follow my vision." Isn't it obvious to everyone that the man who cannot see (how to pay for it) has no vision? What I perceive as a major cause for mis-understanding here is taking a text out of it's context. The entire verse says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that hath the law, happy is he." What advantage does having the law give you? Why, it gives you vision. As David said, "Thy Word is a LAMP unto my feet." That is to say that if you understand God's law you will have enough insight to look ahead on this pathway of life and avoid the potholes that lie along your route. God's Word is the basic element that gives you enlightenment about any project that you hope to undertake.
Another statement often heard when this subject is spoken about usually comes out like this: "If you are pastoring a small church of 50 or 75, it's because you don't have any vision." They forget that you are living in a community of less than a thousand people and that your's is one of ten churches in the community. It would be senseless for you to try to build a church that will seat 25,000 people when there are not that many people in your whole county! What I'm saying is that God gives you some natural and spiritual laws that will give you keen insight into what you ought to do and how to do it.
As usual, this brother today quoted the first part of Proverbs 28:19, "Where there is no vision, the people perish..." and then began to talk about visualizing, or looking forward enough to see the completion of the picture. Being an artist he had to have an idea of how the picture would look at the end before he began to paint. (That made sense to me) He needed to know the size of the canvas, the color paint to buy, the size and type brushes needed, the structure he wanted to create, and how to go about creating the structure. That all rang very true with my spirit. Our vision is not just some un-attainable goal, but will be something that we can move toward completing logically. We may make a few strokes with the brush that have to be changed, added to, re-painted even, but we know what we want to paint.
Another fine point he made was, "An original 'one of a kind' Van Gogh painting is priceless. But if you copy that painting, no matter how good your copy is, it's practically worthless!" In other words it is more important for you to be original or "one of a kind" than to copy the greatest work of a genius. You are unique. You are priceless. Your ideas, your authentic work, your thoughts which God gave you are worth far more than doing anything you learned in someone else's seminar.
This message was very helpful to me. Hope you too are blessed by it.
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- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.