Lent Devotional – Casting A Vision
March 11, 2023 Creekwood United Methodist Church

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Flexibility in Faith, Love, and Loss

“I will stand at my watch post, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.”

-Habakkuk 2:1-4 NRSV

The weight hit as I was leaving youth ministry in Kansas to lead an entire worship community in McKinney. I was telling the volunteers who had given their time and love to these kids that I would be leaving, and a woman named Lezlee shed some tears – and then expressed her concern.

“David, it has been so great to work with you…but what are we supposed to do after you’ve left?”

“Lezlee, I’m really not THAT great of a youth minister, the church will bring someone else in. More importantly all of you volunteers will continue with the kids.”

“No David, literally, we have no idea what plans have or haven’t been made for the months that we’ll be searching for someone. You haven’t told anyone else what you’ve been doing.”

Over two years our youth team of me and 6 volunteers had grown a youth group recovering from trauma from 6 to 30 that were regularly attending Sunday evening programming, and one reason given to me was, “When we come, we feel like we’re part of something big, exciting, and important…and…we feel we can help make it come to life.”

I would discover later that that is called “Casting a Vision,” and apparently it is something leaders are asked to do AND share with others. What I’ve learned since that conversation in 2008 is that it takes a lot of faith to cast a vision, maintain focus on the vision, and trust others with the vision.

Consider Habakkuk, the patron saint of church leaders that question whether God really knows what God is doing. Habakkuk is questioning God’s wisdom in using the Babylonian army to exact God’s will, and God’s response is essentially, “Trust me, there’s a point to this, it’s part of the vision – make sure you remind other people of that too.” That vision? The Kingdom of Heaven. Where there is no poverty, exploitation, grief, warfare, hatred, or injustice. Believe it or not, God has believed since the beginning that human beings are capable of this kind of world, which is why Jesus tells us to pray, “On earth as it is in heaven.” It just seems we lose sight of the vision quite often.

Where I have found I need God the most in an executive role is the faith to keep the vision.

There are people who find this scriptural depiction of the Kingdom of Heaven to be contrary to their individual version of happiness and fulfillment.

There are little details that get magnified as more important than the pastoral or prophetic roles God appointed the church to do.

There are arguments about non-creedal elements of theology that divide our attention away from anything Jesus showed us or said.

There are bills to be paid.

Sometimes it takes a lot of faith to trust that the vision is coming when we can’t see it clearly. But “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I’m grateful to God for constantly putting people in my path or opening my eyes and heart to the inbreaking of heaven all around us. The more I see God at work, the more effective of a leader I am.

I imagine that executives, bosses, and leaders have to have faith in any industry they work in. Surely a vision that invites people into something bigger, more exciting, and more important must be hard to continuously drive forward without hope that it will come.

In fact, I’m not sure how you can be a leader without faith.


David Lessner

dust covered Bible

Lent Daily Bible Reading Through the Gospel According to Luke

Today’s reading: Luke 10

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