|Vol. 12 No. 8 August 2010||
The late Helen Keller was asked, “What would be worse than being born blind?” to which she replied, “Having sight without a vision.” As history shows, this was a lady with vision that made a great difference in this world.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). In this context, the word “vision” means, “a message delivered by the prophets, a revealed message of God.” God’s Word indeed is vision to us, a direction in which to go. Therefore, when there is no direction, people will go anywhere and do anything. However, have we considered where there is vision?” Where there is vision, people are disciplined, lives are structured and priorities are right.
Where there is vision there is the spirit of growth. There is the spirit of enthusiasm (Colossians 1:27-29) and evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20) in congregations that are growing. People love to be involved with such a congregation of the churches of Christ. New folks should be special guests each week. People have to move from “their pews and not complain a whit.
Where there is vision there is “providing out of the people.” Was this not Jethro’s advice to Moses when he saw Moses’ workload (Exodus 18:20-22)? From among the people, reasoned Jethro, select those that could assist Moses over the “small matters.” Beloved, may we seek out from ourselves able men and women that are able to discern right from wrong and apply the right and defeat the wrong (Colossians 2:7). May we be people that fear God (Ecclesiastes 12:13) and that are of truth (Ephesians 4:15; John 8:32). There is never an “unemployment shortage” in the kingdom of God. As in the old hymn, “There is much to do, there’s work on every hand.” Ask folks! Seek out and “provide out of the people” folks that are willing, but ask!
Where there is vision there is a readiness to work. Like those in Nehemiah’s time, we must have the same approach, “…for the people had a mind to work” (Nehemiah 4:6). Awareness, attitude and action are all needed for the right vision. In Paul’s writing to Titus, he emphasized good works that must have a zealous attitude (Titus 2:14), that must be ready to do (Titus 3:1) and maintain them to be good and profitable (Titus 3:8) and for necessary, fruitful uses (Titus 3:14). If there is an effort that is not profitable, well, that is not a bad thing. The good thing is we detect it and replace it with a work that is profitable to God’s glory.
A congregation with vision will look ahead through the direction of the Word of God and be profitable for every member. May all churches of Christ be faithful and press onward!
What do you think of when you hear the words preaching the Gospel? Most think of a man standing behind the pulpit on Sunday morning and delivering a sermon. Yet, the phrase “preach the Gospel” encompasses so much more than a Sunday morning sermon. The phrase means to bring, or declare good or glad tidings, and does not refer to only standing in a pulpit. It refers to the generic teaching of the Gospel to others. The early Christians were severely persecuted, yet the Bible says they went everywhere preaching the word (Acts 8:3-4). There are many reasons why we should do the same, but consider three reasons from Romans 1:14-16 that Paul preached the Gospel.
Paul Preached Because He Was a Debtor
The word debtor from v. 14 means one who owes anything, or is under obligation to another. Paul preached because he understood his debt to God, others and himself. He was obligated to God because God offered a plan to save him, even after he had persecuted and killed Christians. He also felt an obligation to others because he realized the difference the Gospel made in his life, and he wanted to share this with his fellowman. However, Paul also knew of his obligation to himself to preach.
“Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). He realized he had a personal responsibility. Today, each Christian has a personal obligation to share the good news with others. We have an obligation to God and His commands. We have an obligation to others because without the Gospel they will be lost. We also have an obligation to ourselves, because failing to preach to others will cause us to lose our souls.
Paul Preached Because He Was Ready
The Greeks had two words for ready. One meant to be prepared, but the other meant to be eager. Paul used the latter in verse 15. Paul did not preach just because he felt obligated to do so. He was eager to share the Gospel with others. Paul was eager, even in the face of extreme opposition. He was not teaching in the “Bible belt,” and he was not teaching in a friendly environment, but in fact, many times he was all alone. Today, we should be eager to teach the Gospel to others, not just doing it because we are commanded to teach it, but because we love God. We should be eager for others to obey the same message we have obeyed, because without it they will be lost.
Paul Preached Because He Was Not Ashamed
The word ashamed in verse 16 refers to a strong degree of shame or fear that prevents someone from doing something. If anyone had a right to be fearful, it was Paul. He was beaten in prison (Acts 16:23-24), stoned at Lystra (Acts 14:19) and rejected everywhere he went. Yet, he did not let these things get in his way. He still taught others the Gospel. Today, we let little things like embarrassment keep us away from teaching and preaching. Brethren, we need to be afraid of everlasting punishment, instead of being afraid to teach others, for if we fail in teaching others, eternal punishment will be our destiny.