What Do You See–What is Your Vision?

1After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” 2But Abram said, “Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” 5He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:1-6).

One of the most stunning sights that I can remember happened one night while I was working as a commercial fisherman on the East Coast of England on my father’s fishing boat. At the time, I was working the boat all alone during the night. Way past midnight, more than 8 miles from land, I set the boat to automatic pilot and turned off all the lights on deck. Then I went out on deck, laid down flat on my back on one of the unused nets and looked up at the stars. Have you ever been away from civilization where there are no lights and looked at the stars on a clear night? It is one of the most stunning sights of this world. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky that night, and no artificial lights to hinder the view. I sensed that the Lord was telling me that there was more to my life than spending most of my waking hours working in solitude away from others on my father’s fishing boat. That moment is one that I will always remember, and the sight of that night sky will always stick with me. It was a moment when I became convinced that the future held something different for me, and that God would teach me a different kind of fishing.

Instead of using a net, I would learn to use the Word of God. Instead of catching fish, I would learn to fish for men; a call that Jesus had made to His early disciples. I felt that I just had to be faithful to learn from Him and do what was at my right hand to do in the meantime (Ecclesiastes 9:10). This was the vision that God gave Abram. He told him to go outside of his tent and look up at the stars. Count the stars, if indeed you can count them—so shall your offspring be. A vision that he could hold in his mind; a vision that would enable him to persevere in his faith through many challenges. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. At that point in the account of his life, his name was still Abram, which means exalted father, but God would give him a name change to reflect the vision that he held in his heart from that day. He would be called Abraham—Father of a multitude. What vision do you hold in your heart? Does this vision shape your daily actions? Are you working towards fulfilling it? If you have no vision as to your future, God wants to plant one in your heart. Life is not about living for this world, but for the next. May a vision of how God wants to use you begin to take hold of your life and propel you to be closer to God.

Keith Thomas