There was a cartoon that showed two Eskimos fishing through holes in the ice. One has dropped his fishing line into a typical round hole about the size of a manhole cover. The other man dropped his line in the water too, but the hole is so immense that it seemed to reach beyond the horizon, in the shape of a whale!
You can say both fishermen had vision. But one of them had a bigger vision than the other. He could envision landing something that few would ever dare try. He wasn’t satisfied with a little ol’ fish. He wanted to catch a whale!
Persons with vision can see beyond what is common. Their eyes are not content to merely look at the here and now. Instead, their eyes gaze upon the horizon to see into the future.
The visionaries of the world are known to make great strides for improving the lives of many. One person I have recently read about is the late businessman Akio Morita (Lived: Jan. 26, 1921 – Oct. 03, 1999). In 1946, just after World War 2 ended, Morita and Masaru Ibuka started a company called Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering in a bombed out department store. They set out to make Japan’s first tape recorder. Even though it was the size of a suitcase, and the recording tape was of poor quality, this was the beginning of what would lead to bigger and better things in the coming years.
It was in 1955 that Morita’s company made the world’s first portable transistor radio. Two years later, his company came up with the first transistor that would fit into a pocket. At the time, Bulova, an American company known for manufacturing watches and clocks, placed a huge order for the radios. The catch, however, was that Bulova would sell the radios under their own name. Even though his business partner was willing to accept Bulova’s offer, Morita declined. He had bigger plans than simply making a sizable profit.
Morita envisioned that his company would provide electronic products under its own name. By the time Morita was approached by Bulova, the company had already changed the original name to one that is now recognize as a household brand—Sony. Morita lists the top nine principles of advice from his book, Made in Japan, says writer and business man, Murat Aktihanoglu. One of those principles, “trust your vision,” is illustrated by the Bulova incident:
When he started Sony, he had vowed that they would not be Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) for other companies. So he refused the order despite everyone around him thinking he was crazy. Bulova told him nobody knew Sony’s name but with Bulova’s name on the radios, they would be sold like hotcakes. Morita-san said: “I am now taking the first step for the next fifty years of my company. Fifty years from now I promise you that our name will be just as famous as your company name is today.” http://muratak.com/2010/05/04/top-9-business-advice-from-sonys-founder-akio-morita/
Morita’s vision saw his company rise to become one of the biggest success stories in the business world. Thanks to his visionary leadership, there are many “firsts” produced by the company he co-founded:
- The first AM transistor radio
- The first pocket-sized transistor radio
- The first two-band transistor radio
- The first FM transistor radio
- The first all-transistor television set
- The first home-use VCR
- The first 8 mm video camera
Morita proved that in business those with vision and foresight can catch a whale. And the same is true as we serve Christ. We don’t seek the small rewards of this life, but the great big one that includes the life to come in the Kingdom Age. We look beyond the horizon with a hope that is greater than what this present world has to offer—eternal life.
As God’s church, we have a vision that keeps us strong and faithful as we anticipate that Glorious Age. Without that vision, we fail. We fail to grow, to succeed, to enjoy the abundant life Jesus wants us to have. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” (John 10:10, New American Standard Bible, NASB). The thief’s vision is small; set on worldly things that produce destruction. On the other hand, Jesus is not only offering life, but the abundant life—something bigger than we can even imagine yet hope to attain.
It’s vision that brings stability and strength and satisfaction because it keeps us focused on higher standards. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Without a vision the people lose restraint; but happy is the one who follows instruction,” (New American Bible Revised Edition, NAB). In Bible times, when prophets sought the Word of the Lord, their vision provided the people with blessings in which to look forward. But if the prophets misled the people with false visions not based on God’s revelation, all control was lost as well as any hope for their future. (Examples: 1 Samuel 3:1ff; Psalm 74:9).
The Apostle Paul wrote about the value of vision when he testified concerning his commitment to proclaim the Gospel to anyone who would listen. Paul’s vision was based on the belief that all the world needed to know Christ and the Good News of his Kingdom. He was willing to become all things to all people if that’s what it took to fulfill the vision he literally saw on the road to Damascus (Acts 26:1-29; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23; Galatians 1:11-2:21).
Paul’s vision of proclaiming the Gospel was based on his faith in God’s Word—the kind of faith Abraham had. Jesus noted how Abraham was a visionary of the day Jesus would appear. He said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad,” (John 8:56, NASB). Abraham saw a brighter and better day when one of his own, Jesus the Christ, will rule and reign on the earth in the Kingdom. Those in Christ who have the kind of vision that faithful Abraham had will also inherit the Kingdom (Galatians 3:26-29).
If we keep our eyes on the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14), we can look for no higher calling. Our vision becomes more valuable the more we pursue that prize. Only through Christ can our vision be clear as we seek first his kingdom and righteousness (Matt. 6:33). How do you envision your service in the Lord and what you seek to accomplish through him?
Here is an old Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” by Selah: http://youtu.be/_4FFZ2KEB24
Good News to YOU!