Captivated By A Shared Vision

Note: This reflection continues a series based on the Bible book of Nehemiah.

Realizing that the wall’s condition was worse than anticipated and recognizing that the opposition against him was formidable, I wonder if Nehemiah ever questioned that God really called him to attempt something so bold?

Regardless of any such doubts, Nehemiah drew on the Lord’s strength and held fast to the vision that God had placed on his heart. He gathered all of the people in Jerusalem saying: “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies and in ruins and its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” (Nehemiah 2:17) He went on to share how God gave him favor with the Persian King who was supportive of what he intended to do. Then something special happened.

The very people who had been beaten down, living in fear and material scarcity resonated with Nehemiah’s vision and responded with conviction, “‘Let us rise and build.’ So they strengthened their hands for the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18) From that moment, the people of Jerusalem came together, persevered against opposition and difficult work conditions and rebuilt the walls in fifty two days. Remarkable! When God prompts an individual to pursue a vision that includes others, wonderful things are accomplished that cannot be explained by human initiative.

1. A shared vision is powerful. A shared vision fuels men and women to roll up their sleeves and work together for the same goal. Within our marketplace, a compelling mission–even apart from God’s leading–drives successful ventures. Some notable examples include:

  • Zoom – whose vision is to create one platform that delivers limitless human connection.
  • Google – whose vision is to provide access to the world’s information in one click.
  • Tesla – whose vision is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

2. A shared vision from God is transformational. The greatest–and most sustainable–shared vision the world has ever seen is the kingdom of Jesus Christ. For over 2,000 years the Church (capital “C” universal) has continued to advance despite extreme opposition, continuing persecution and even through flawed or false leaders. Before His ascension, after forty days of explanation and instruction, Jesus cast an amazing and compelling mission for His small band of followers: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . .” (Matthew 28:17-20, NLT)

The Book of Acts–generally titled “The Acts of the Apostles”–might be better titled “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” This shared vision was backed by the wisdom of God the Father, the victory of God the Son and the outpouring of God the Spirit . . . and it continues to captivate people to this day. “Disciple-making” is the universal call for all followers of Christ. Jesus is still gathering those the Father has given Him (John 6:37) and great numbers across our world are so devoted to Him that they willingly suffer persecution and even death for their faith. Today, do you find yourself more captivated about God’s vision for the world or for the world’s vision for the marketplace? We can faithfully fulfill God’s individual calling for us as well as His universal calling for His people.

3. Keep working and proclaiming our shared vision! God has called me into the exciting and challenging world of commercial real estate. In recent years, as a developer, I have been able to connect the responsibility of being a good steward of God’s resource of land (Genesis 1:9) with the vision of my company: “to create places where individuals, companies and communities can flourish.” As I pursue that vision with my team, we believe that together we are contributing to God’s good purposes as well as His common grace in the world. May we all be joyously surprised by the results now–and eternally!

Serving Him with you in the marketplace,

David Atchison

Father God, I know what it feels like to approach my work as a duty, which in itself can be a good thing. But sometimes I find myself going through the motions. Sometimes I lose sight of Your greater purposes and vision. Oh Lord, renew my mind and heart today. Fill me with the energy of Your Spirit as I devote myself to excellence in the small tasks with an eye toward the greater goal. Bring me, and those I work alongside, to come together around a greater vision. And Lord, above all else, I ask that You might be glorified. Amen.

“A shared vision is not an idea. It is not even an important idea such as freedom. It is, rather, a force in people’s hearts, a force of impressive power.” – Peter M. Senge