The wise man spoke wisdom when he declared, Where there is no vision, people perish.” Sober, visceral words. “People perish.” Have we really thought through the terrible implications of those two words? People — eternal souls created in God’s image, yet forever missing all that God created them to do and to be. Perish — forever separated from God, and all that is good and beautiful. Do we at Calvary have the kind of vision for God’s work, his kingdom, eternity, precious souls for whom Jesus died, that will lead us to put God and his work and his worship, above everything else? Family – friends – pleasure – reputation – career – money – convenience — all that pertains to human existence? Luke 14:26 merits much careful meditation — “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters — yes, even his own life — he cannot be my disciple.” Of course, we cannot understand such radical statements with only Western mindsets. Would the One who taught us to love everyone, even our enemies, tell us to hate our own loved ones? Of course not! In the hyperbole of his day and culture, Jesus is saying that our love for our loved ones must seem like hate compared with our love for him. Pretty clear claim to Deity — also a clear call to discipleship. Do the claims of family, friends, etc., supercede Jesus’ claim to our radical, no-holds-barred love and commitment? Let’s ask God for a vision that comes from truly loving him. Then we will see our church filled with people finding God, loving God, serving God. But only if we love him above all else.
Rev. Dr. Richard L. Shaw, Pastor