On the Corner
The vision of Jesus for mankind
by Robert Docter, Editor-In-Chief –
To The Visionaries:
Scripture tells us that being a visionary is a young person’s game. Personally, I’m delighted that youth is not measured chronologically but by a state of mind—an orientation to life—a sense of optimism, of courage, of perseverance and hope.
So, you see, I’m a visionary along with you.
Jesus spoke in his sermons and his parables of his vision for humanity—of the way he hoped we would be in our relationships with each other—of the kind of life he wanted us to live. He knew there were alternative choices, but he wanted us to know his choice for us would provide something genuine, something real, something that would last. His choice would be better for us than we ever dreamed. It would be fuller, richer, more abundant. By following his choice we become complete—people of integrity.
Jesus wanted us to understand a new meaning not only for life—but for an abundant life.
Here are four examples I have carefully selected for you as you prepare to go to your first appointment. They are gleaned from the Sermon on the Mount, and they point the way to an “abundant life.”
He envisions us as people with:
A solid foundation.
He wants us to build our lives on a solid foundation—to know that only the foolish among us build lives with little thought and no real planning. With a strong foundation of positive values we will be able to overcome the disappointments and difficulties that arise in our minds because our expectations fail to match the realities of our existence. A solid foundations requires the full and total development of self in every aspect of life.
These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Matthew 7—The Message
A genuine love for others.
He spoke of his vision that humans should treat one another lovingly. He did this as he envisioned the nature of our relationships with those in need. He saw that human part of us that resists being “involved”—that finds it embarrassing to speak to someone we don’t know—that hesitates in doing more than being a referral agent when someone seeks assistance. Jesus envisions people whose impulses automatically cause them to treat others in the same manner that they themselves would want to be treated. He says this summarizes all the law and the prophets, and that this is the way his Father treats us.
Here’s a simple rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s law and prophets and this is what you get. Matthew 7—The Message
An impulse to be non-judgmental.
He knew of our tendency to allow our critical judgments of others to creep into the depth of our souls. He knew that these judgments would shape the nature of our relationships with those judged. If we perceive someone as wise and mighty, we would act toward them as if they could do no wrong. If our perceptions result in the opposite, our behavior toward that person becomes stealthily destructive. We, ourselves, along with the person and the relationship, suffer. His vision for us displayed his hope that we would resist the temptation to judge, neither to glorify nor find fault.
Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. Matthew 7—The Message
Jesus is fully aware of our tendency to seek an easy access to him. We want cushy appointments, trouble-free responsibilities, effortless tasks. He knew we would prefer to take a smooth, downhill route in life. His vision for us, however, was based on his personal knowledge of the responsibility he faced in his ministry—a complete sacrifice. He wants us to be obedient to the sacrifices demanded of us. He knew that nothing good is easily achieved. He knew that sacrificial service demands more than verbalization of clichés. He’s not interested in “charisma.” He wants character, and it’s achieved in the cauldron of serious obedience.
Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God—is vigorous and requires total attention.
A philosopher said: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” We’re in the rescue business—the salvation enterprise. Holding before you the continuing challenges of Christ as identified in his vision for humanity will assure that you will actualize the name of your session in all that you do.
Go with God.