The Impelling Power of a Great Vision

The Impelling Power of a Great Vision
By William A. Mulford-1920

It has been said by the wisest man that ever lived, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18). The inspiration of a great vision is an impelling power that raises man out of the sordidness of the commonplace and holds him to the pursuance of an ideal. It keeps a Christian resolutely working out God’s purpose in his life.

He who is not only filled with the Spirit of God, but who has also caught a mighty vision of the great purpose for which Christ died, is richer than the prince who inherits a throne. Such a vision will reveal his own littleness, and at the same time his value in the Kingdom of God. It will spread before him the great, teeming mass of precious humanity for which Jesus died and burn in his soul a call to service–a call he will never be able to evade. It will give him boundless confidence in his brethren, and make him conscious of his Father’s care.

We all need a vision, and we may all have a vision. Perhaps not in every case a literal vision such as one might receive at night, but one that comes to every man of faith–a broadened outlook on life as a whole–a full appreciation of our opportunities for service-an understanding of our privilege as children of the Most High-in short, a vision of the living Christ and His Church. That is what we all need, and that is what all must have!

Isaac Newton on one occasion gazed steadfastly with his naked eyes on the sun shining in its noonday splendor. As a consequence/the impression on the retina of his eyes was do deep that for days he could see nothing with any degree of distinctness. Turn which way he would, he beheld the image of the sun. He shut himself up in a dark room, but even there he could discern the golden halo of light.

In a similar manner will a great spiritual vision leave its impression on a man’s soul, thereby stimulating him to put forth his best efforts to redeem the time for the fulfilling of his vision.

We look into the lives of the world’s greatest men, and we see that those who have reached the sublimest heights of achievement have been inspired by a great vision.

Abraham had a vision of a better country, and “a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God.” He had faith to answer his call, and his dream came true, and is yet to come true in a much greater sense.

Though Joseph was mockingly called “the Dreamer” by his less visionary brethren, yet his dreams were to some purpose.

Moses dreamed of a liberated people, living in the promised land. At the good old age of 120 years, he saw the fulfillment of his life-long dream, though he was not permitted to enjoy it himself.

David dreamed in the fields with his sheep, and meditated in his closet on the glory and goodness of his Shepherd, until be became the “Sweet Singer of Israel,” and “the Man after God’s Own Heart.”

Saul The Pharisee caught such a vision of the risen Christ on the Damascus road at midday that his life was transformed, and he became “Paul” the mighty apostle. In speaking of his experience before Agrippa many years afterward, he exclaimed, “Whereupon, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision!”

Modern history affords us many outstanding examples of those who accomplished great things because they had a gripping, impelling outlook upon their work.

Joan of Arc, a simple peasant maid of France, through the inspiration of a vision was enabled to save her native land in a critical moment in it’s history. She felt herself inspired of God to lead the discouraged French army to victory. By her sacred zeal she inspired them with the belief that God was on their side. She brought them to their knees in prayer, and as their courage rose to the heights of enthusiasm, she led them to a great victory at Orleans-and France was saved!

It cost Moses his luxurious life in Pharaoh’s house and caused him to spend forty years in the desert and forty more years in the wilderness.

To David, it meant to be hunted like a wild beast through caves and mountains, fleeing for his life from the wrath of a jealous king.

But Paul, the one who had the vision of Jesus, whose resurrection glory shone above the splendor of the noonday sun, seemed to be called upon to pay the greatest price.

I see him standing with bared back before a brutal jailer, sentenced to be beaten with the Roman scourge, a short stick with four stout cords attached in which were set bits of iron, which cut the flesh.

The lash falls, and the blood spurts from his back. Again it falls, thrice, four times, each time inflicting a deeper wound-again and again until his back is a quivering mass of bleeding, lacerated flesh. On and on till the jailer counts thirty-nine. This punishment was administered usually to the worst of criminals, and often resulted in the death of the victim. Surely, one such experience will be sufficient to drive the notions of sacrifice from this man’s head. But, no–we see him later in other cities undergoing similar punishment. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” II Cor. 11:24.

Years pass by and we observe this same man, still pursuing his vision and again convicted of the “crime” of preaching Christ to a dying world. The intrepid preacher is beaten with rods until he falls helpless to the ground. “Thrice was I beaten with rods.” II Cor. 11.

Undaunted and unafraid, urged onward by the great hope of his life, constrained by the love of Christ, he travels over land and sea, through many strange countries preaching the Good News of the Cross.

At Lystra we see him in the hands of a howling mob, in perils of robbers, in perils by his own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (II Cor. 11:2427)

A vision is worthwhile. No one who will faithfully follow a Godgiven vision can fail in life. There is no better insurance against failure than to rise to the heights of faith and get God’s viewpoint for your life, and to keep that inspiring outlook before you continually.

Much of the failure and backsliding we see on every hand is due to the fact that in most cases there was no overmastering purpose in life to work for; no well-defined goal to reach; no vision to lure the soul to greater effort for God. After one is saved, instead of beginning a life of service and growth, he begins to drift. Like a ship without a rudder, he floats with every passing current, till he finds himself on the shoals of doubt and failure.

In cases of the Old Testament heroes whose names we have mentioned, how richly were they rewarded for the fidelity to their Godgiven vision!

At the end of a long and eventful ministry in which he was – “not disobedient to the heavenly vision,” Paul was able to say: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day.”

Elder William Mulford came into Holiness around 1910. He allied himself with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in its embryonic stage. ID 1922 Elder Mulford began to travel extensively on behalf of the P. A. of W. with the thought of establishing missions in the name of that entity. He would later become the first chairman of the Foreign Missions Department. He also was responsible for establishing the official news magazine of the P. A. of W. He entitled it, “TIE CHRISTIAN OUTLOOK” This magazine still serves as the official organ of the organization. It is not known when he died.