Be Thou My Vision



“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

(Proverbs 29:18)

There is a classic story of two shoe representatives from a company who were sent to a remote region of the world to see if there could be any potential for sales there. The first called back and left a voice mail saying, “ Coming home soon, there is no interest in our shoes here.” However, the second representative wired, send a boatload of shoes, for the possibilities are great with the people here. The same could be said of two different Christians, one with no vision at all, and the other with nothing but a vision.

There is a song about vision among the old hymns, its titled Be Thou My Vision.  It was an old Irish hymn, one my wife and I love to hear when sung in church. There are particular phrases of the song that mean a lot to us, especially as we think of our own son and his families ministry in a far away country.

“Be Thou My Vision, oh Lord of my heart,” “ Be Thou my wisdom,” “ Be Thou my best thoughts, by day and night,” “Be thou my victory, “ and “Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise for Thou art mine inheritance, now and always, ” are just some of the phrases  that come to mind.  Of course, these words are more applicable to Brodie and his family, because they are on the front line, while we remain here at home, praying, supporting, and encouraging them as best we can. We also try and visit them once a year.

Mission work is tough, and it takes a lot of God-given vision to handle the lack of fruit that often accompanies a ministry in a foreign country. It may even take years before a single convert is realized, but because of the vision God has given, the work goes on.  And in some cases, sad to say, great pain and even death may result in the effort, as was the case with the missionaries who lost their lives trying to reach the Auca Indians in Ecuador, several years ago.  Five of the key men in this mission were murdered by the very tribe they were trying to reach for the Gospel.  The wives of these men were devastated and counseled to leave the field. As some said, “This tribe will never be reached, so let them go.” But Elizabeth Elliot, one of the wives, and some others too, went right back into the fray, just because of the vision God had given. In the end, the tide turned, and the Auca Indians came to know Christ as their Lord.

So the next time you hear the song, Be Thou My Vision in church or on a Christian radio station, think of the missionaries who daily work hard to bring about the Gospel.  Be a supportive chorus to them in  one way or another, not like those who say,  “Come home and quit wasting your time, for these short-sighted believers have no vision at all.”

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose.” 

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”

Jim Elliot