The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is sometimes called the “Roll Call of the Faithful”. It contains a listing of many of the heroes of the Old Testament. The last two verses read, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect”(Hebrews11:39, 40). What could cause so many to sacrifice so much without ever seeing the full fruit of their labor? They all had a vision of the coming of God’s Kingdom. While they did not understand all there was to know about the coming of the Messiah, they believed He was coming. Their vision of something better motivated them to do great things.
The power of vision is no less important today. The world understands this power. Church leaders have the same responsibility. Vision is important, because it enables people to see beyond what is to what can be. Without vision the old adage, “If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will keep on getting what you have always got,” becomes true.
Vision is important for leaders for three reasons. One, the power of vision helps us overcome the fear of the unknown. Uncertainty influences people to cling to the present and less likely to think in the future. Vision gives a reason for taking a risk and believing that there is something better on the horizon.
Two, the power of vision enables us to overcome the fear of sacrifice. Progress requires sacrifice. John Maxwell said, “If I succeed without sacrifice, then it’s because someone who went before me made the sacrifice. If I sacrifice, and don’t see success, then someone who follows will reap success from my sacrifice.” The task of leadership is to demonstrate the sacrifices demanded today are worth the rewards they will bring in the future.
Three, the power of vision enables us to learn from the past, to live in the present and to believe in the future. The wise visionary does not forget the past. He learns from past successes and failures but he refuses to live there. The visionary lives in the present, but he never loses his belief that the best is yet to come. Most importantly, great leaders are able to transmit their vision to their followers.
Our nation and our churches are in need of this kind of leadership The problems we face will not be solved by finger pointing and false promises. Like the problems of the past, they will be solved through hard work and sacrifice. We should pray for God to raise up leaders who will cast a vision that will convince us the sacrifice will be worth it. As you pray, remember you may be that leader.