Guest Post By Jason Miller
A few years ago, my son Alijah and I built a fire. It was awesome! We spent part of the afternoon collecting sticks, branches, and bigger pieces of wood. Part of our backyard is wooded, so it makes it easy to gather fire wood. I kept saying to him…”This fire is going to be great!”
He asked me such a simple question, that might have seemed obvious to me, but to him was so honest and pure. After I told him again how awesome this fire was going to be, he looked at me and asked, “Dad, why?”
We went on to talk about how much fun it was for the two of us to be building this fire. We talked about how much fun it was going to be to roast marshmallows and about how “grown up” he’s going to feel to be able to stay up late and hang out at the fire.
The fire was blazing and perfect. Then, all of a sudden, because the wood had burned up quite a bit, our tee-pee collapsed. It was cool to watch and we cheered a little. Well, I had this bright (no pun intended) idea to take a wooden pallet, put it in the fire pit, and prop it up with a long, thick branch. It looked like a trap where the stick is holding up the other side and when you pull the stick away, the trap falls. Since the pallet was so big and the branch was so long, the fire (which had died down a bit at this point) was in the middle and barely touching the pallet. My thought was that the fire would catch the bottom of the pallet and then climb up. Eventually, that’s exactly what it did.
It took quite a while for the pallet to burn and while we (me, Alijah, Chris, and Audrey) were all sitting around the fire, we started to guess how the pallet would collapse into the fire pit. It was taking longer than expected and my wife suggested we just hit the pallet to make it collapse. I quickly thwarted her plan to destroy my masterpiece! 🙂 My son then started to get a little restless. This whole pallet burning thing was simply taking way too long for a 6-year-old, not to mention it was way past his bedtime and he was extremely tired. In the next moment, what Alijah said caused me to remember how important vision casting is. He turned to me and said, “Dad, this is boring!”
Without blinking an eye, I said to him, “Alijah, that’s because you only see what is right in front of you.”
I then made up some outrageous story about how cool it would be if the pallet collapsed and when it hit the fire pit, there was a tiny explosion and flames shot high into the air. To my 6-year-old, that was cool! After a short time, Alijah and Audrey went in the house to go to bed. Chris and I hung out a little while longer.
I couldn’t help but think about how crucial it is for leaders to cast vision for their people. The Bible tells us that where there is no vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Vision is a tricky thing because it is getting people excited about what they can’t see (ironic huh…vision / can’t see). The most effective leaders are the ones who are able to see the end and get their people excited to move beyond only what they see right in front of them. Effective leaders see the big picture…the goal…when others can’t. For the leader, the tricky part isn’t in the seeing. The tricky part for the leader is in the influencing of the people. People will be excited to work towards something if they’re excited about the thing which they are working towards.
When you as a leader, especially in ministry, are walking with God, He will give you “Big Picture”, earth-shaking, revelation. It’s a wild and crazy ride (not always fun and easy), but if you answer the call to be a leader…man up! Don’t shy away from vision, just because it might “shake things up.” Instead, figure out how to become a better vision caster. Believe me, no matter how “far off”, or “out there”, or “controversial” the “Big Picture” vision may seem, if you can influence your people to believe in it, you and your people will move mountains!
Some awesome quotes about vision…
“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.” — Mary Kay Ash
“I don’t dream at night, I dream all day; I dream for a living.” — Steven Spielberg
(one of my favorites) “Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.” — Joel Barker
“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” — Goethe
“It may be that those who do most, dream most.” — Stephen Butler Leacock
“We are limited, not by our abilities, but by our vision.” — Anonymous
“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.” — Erma Bombeck
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” — Hellen Keller
“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to other.” — Jonathan Swift