(Photo: Do Something Campaign)
A vision is a picture of your preferred future. You may have kicked off the New Year by resolving to drink less, shed pounds or quit amassing debt. How's that working out for you so far?
The success rate for New Year's resolutions is notoriously low. While the intention for this annual resolution-making tradition is admirable, the premise is a bit misguided.
Let's think about this: Jesus Christ has called us to and empowered us for an unexplainable life. God has made available to you the power to live a life that is utterly unexplainable. If you are limiting yourself to an annual low goal-setting event that hinges on quitting one behavior…you are selling yourself short.
God wants to do something big in your life that will make people shake their heads in wonder.
Knitting Together His Plan
One day I got off the elevator at my church in San Diego and came face to face with a tall, tattooed, hat-on-backwards, goatee-wearing man with a backpack and cut-off shorts. He looked edgy and nervous. You get the picture. I said hello and asked him where he was headed.
"I'm going to my first ministry meeting," he told me.
Hoping I could offer him some reassuring words, I said, "Oh, well which ministry are you here for?"
"The knitting ministry."
I wiped the puzzled look off my face that clearly read, "Did-he-really-just-say-that?!" "Big fella, where did you learn to knit? That's something I never would have guessed… for you."
"Well, I don't exactly knit," he told me. "I crochet."
Now I really had to stuff down my reaction. Crochet?
He went on to say that he learned to crochet in prison after twelve years of being in Hell's Angels. He ended up at the Rock Church in San Diego because his ex-wife attends church here, and he just wanted to help.
As unexpected and atypical as this appeared, God's plan was obviously working in this man's life. Similarly, God has unique plans for you that knit together all the threads of your life.
Focusing on Someone Else
Just as Jesus did something with eternal impact on our behalf, He left a model for us to do something with eternal impact for those he sends our way.
Maybe the 2012 resolution you made, the one you've likely already broken, can be made anew today. This time, replace the narrow self-absorbed goals with something bigger than you could ask for or imagine. Rather than changing one thing about your life, how about focusing on changing someone else's life?
Perhaps it is an alcoholic brother, a friend with a mental illness, a relative trapped in domestic violence. Maybe He has shown you something in them they cannot see. Maybe He has shown you something in them that He wants you to pray for. Resolve today to take a risk and reach out to him or her. After all, you are called to love the unlovable in the eyes of the world, just as Christ did. Be willing to make a sacrifice for them, giving them the hope they may not have.
At the Rock Church we're determined to be a catalyst of Pervasive Hope throughout the world. That means for every way someone can be lost, we want to provide a practical way for him or her to be found, in the very place they have ended up.
A Clear Vision
I encourage you to spend time in prayer today asking God to reveal his unique vision – his preferred future - for your life. John 14:12-14 says, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
Fulfilling your purpose to love the world includes ministering to the least of these, those who cannot pay you back. Loving the least of these is not only about what you can give them but what Jesus Himself will teach you about love through them. Through service and self-sacrifice you will be able to see more clearly the vision God has for you - and accomplish something far more meaningful than a simple New Year's resolution. You will spread hope and achieve spiritual transformation.