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Every new year is an uncharted and unknown sea. No ship has ever sailed this way before. The wisest of earth’s sons and daughters cannot tell us what we may encounter on this journey.

Aiden Wilson Tozer

It’s the dawn of 2024. Like most beginnings to a new year, we look into the foggy future with a sense of optimism, with a heart of hope.

And, from this disposition, we cast a vision.

“I shall eat better. Forget the late-night snacking!” “I will exercise past January, so help me!” “I am going to watch less TV and take a break from social media. Say goodbye to binge-consumption and aimless scrolling!” “Hey, let us strengthen and transform our marriage, our parenting, our family with these fifty-four books and three retreats.” “I will travel less.” “I will travel more.” “I’m telling you, and you mark my words, I am finishing that project this year! Right, I get it, even though it’s been sitting there for a week…er, months…er, okay, years.” “We will go to church more, pray more, serve more, read more. God help us, we will be stronger in our faith this year!”

While some loath this time of year because of an inundation of resolutions and goals—the constant chatter about visions—we must see that cast visions are good and wise. It is us taking initiative, being intentional, and seeking to better our resources or relationships. As George Carver once said, “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” We need vision. Personally. Communally. For what is life without optimism? What is life without hope?

However, a question remains. How do we complete the cast vision? How do we prevent the results of so many cast visions: forgotten or failed?

If there is to be a completed vision, I believe this truth must be applied to the process: our cast vision needs to be partnered with Jesus, time, and work.

With Jesus

In John 21, we find seven disciples fishing. They fish all night, casting the net over and over and over again, with no results. Early the next morning, Jesus shows up. He speaks a word. They obey his word. The result is they catch 153 fish in one cast!

They do with Jesus what they could not do without Jesus. Why? Because the presence of Jesus changes everything. He changes you. He changes your office environment. He changes your neighborhood. He changes your marriage, your parenting, your family. He changes your community and culture. Jesus changes everything.

Yes, casting vision is important. Yet, making sure Jesus is present—the presence and power behind the vision’s source, direction, and execution—is more important.

If you desire to complete the cast vision, and most certainly you do, then you must invite Jesus into the vision. As Jesus so pointedly revealed, “Without me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

With Time and Work

Let’s pretend (I say pretend, though, for some of you, it’s a reality!) your cast vision is to run a marathon in 2024, and that vision was “awakened in you” this morning. I hate to break it to you, but you probably can’t run—and complete—that marathon this afternoon. Sure, you can try, but your efforts won’t produce what you envision: running across that finish line with full energy, a big smile, and having broken a world record, cameras clicking away and endorsements coming your way. Well, you get what I'm saying. According to Runner’s World, the average runner takes twenty weeks—five months—to fully prepare for a marathon. Are you a couch-to-marathon kind of person? Then, Runner’s World says it’ll take you something like ten to twelve months(!) to fully prepare for a marathon. Meaning, maybe your "awakened vision" should set its sights on that marathon in 2025, while you take 2024 to simply plan and prepare.

Any vision takes time and work to not just cast but to complete.

Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel took four years to complete. The Parthenon in Athens took ten years to complete. Meanwhile, the Great Pyramid of Giza took twenty years to complete, with thousands working seven days a week! And, again, your marathon will require anywhere from five to twelve months of work (yes, that means running…a lot!) to get you ready to complete that 26.2-mile journey.

Really. It's true. Any vision takes time and work to not just cast but to complete.

However, in our cultural context, this is a difficult truth to accept and apply. We expect instantaneous success and results, often without the necessary time and work demanded for such success and results. Think of one of our million diets. We’ll eat junk for three months—or, er, for three years—and then jump into a diet, expecting our target weight to be hit within three days! Think of fast food. We expect our meal within minutes of pulling onto that restaurant’s campus. Or think of microwaves, air fryers, and the well-titled Instant Pot. With such handy objects, we expect our food within seconds.

In our cultural context, we want results now, and we want them easy. Amazingly, decades ago, Tozer put it this way: “A generation…reared among push buttons and automatic machines is impatient of slow and direct methods of reaching goals.”

We so often expect to complete goals, achieve success, or acquire those desired results—to see a cast vision become reality—overnight. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. True success, authentic completion, and long-lasting results are never that easy and quick. Vince Lombardi made this clear by saying, “The price of success is hard work, dedication…and…determination…” In other words, the true price of success and a completed vision is time and work.

So, as you cast that vision and seek to complete that vision, you must know and believe that without Jesus, you can do nothing. Invite him into the vision. Also, you must know that without time and work, such cast visions will turn out like so many others: forgotten or failed.

Walk with Jesus. Be patient. Your vision will take time to complete. Be prepared to work, and work hard.

Finally, don’t lose sight of the vision. Keep it on the horizon. Eventually...with Jesus, time, and work, you'll cross that finish line.

Therefore, keep the optimism. Keep the hope. Keep the vision.




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Jan 20

Love the marathon analogy. We are all on a different journey & beginning in different places. Jesus is the ONLY way to get to & cross our finish line! Thank you for the words of challenge!

Jonathan Gilliland
Jonathan Gilliland
Jan 28
Replying to

Thanks for your feedback and thoughts! Glad to hear from you! 😀 - JDG


Jan 20



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