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How is Your Vision?

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I just turned my calendar to a new year. The annual cycle of all the things we do each year began a few days ago: file our taxes; celebrate birthdays and anniversaries; schedule vacations and meetings (General Council is coming in June!). As we get older, our planning tends to include medical issues: trips to the dentist, to the doctor for our yearly physical and to the optometrist for our vision exam.

We appreciate the importance of healthy eyesight because it impacts nearly everything we do. But have you checked your spiritual vision lately? I never get tired of reading the gospel accounts of how Jesus led His disciples, often correcting their perception and bringing focus to their world and priorities. He did that in Mark 13.

Jesus had just spent the day in Jerusalem with His disciples. They had watched worshipers come and go to the temple. Jesus answered questions about taxes, government, theology, religion and the most important commandment of all. In each case the simplicity of His answers perplexed even the most respected scholars. He even called attention to one who easily could have been overlooked—a poor widow—and commended her simplicity and generosity, in stark contrast with the flamboyant behavior of many religious leaders.

As He left the temple, the mass and majesty of the architecture astounded one of His disciples. “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!” (13:1). At once Jesus realized this follower’s eyes had been captured by the external prominence of the surroundings but had missed the eternal significance of the moment. The Savior’s reply was puzzling. “Do you see all these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (v. 2).

After a brief walk to the Mount of Olives, the small group stopped to rest at a place overlooking the temple. Some of His followers asked Him to expand and explain His statement. They were asking for a glimpse of the future—His vision for His followers. In response Jesus delivered one of His longest recorded teachings. He took this opportunity to correct their spiritual eyesight and to help them look past the temporal and into the eternal.

One sentence arrests me each time I read it: “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations” (v.10). Matthew records it a little differently: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Later, Jesus elaborates on His vision for the Church: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (28:18–20).

His vision is clear, concise and compelling—we share His passion and join Him in this great work. This vision motivated A. B. Simpson to begin a movement to take the gospel to all people, and The Christian and Missionary Alliance has not wavered in our commitment to global evangelization. Taking the good news to our neighbors and the nations—completing Christ’s commission and bringing back the King—is our consuming motivation.

If vision is a picture of a preferred future, I sometimes need a vision correction to help me remember what Jesus said and has been echoed by godly leaders of our denomination for the past 125 years. It is all about lost people who have no hope apart from Jesus. That is why He said “go.”

Now is a good time to make that appointment with Jesus—our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer and Coming King—and ask Him to adjust our focus, so that we see as He does.

Alliance Core Values

  • Lost people matter to God. He wants them found. Luke 19:10
  • Prayer is the primary work of God’s people. Phil. 4:6–7
  • Everything we have belongs to God. We are His stewards. 1 Chron. 29:14
  • Knowing and obeying God’s Word is fundamental to all true success. Josh. 1:8
  • Completing the Great Commission will require the mobilization of every fully devoted disciple. Matt. 28:19
  • Without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can accomplish nothing.
    1 Cor. 2:4–5
  • Achieving God’s purposes means taking faith-filled risks. This always involves change.
    Heb. 11:6

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