Alternative Thoughts on Vision – The Line and the Dot
When Bartimaeus called out to Him, Jesus asked him a question.
“What do you want me to do for you?”
This seems like an unusual thing for Jesus to ask. Surely it is obvious. Unusual? Yes. Uncommon? No. Some Bible scholars estimate that
Jesus was asked 300 questions during His ministry and that he gave a straight answer to three. They also say that Jesus asked around 125 questions, many of which were in answer to questions He was first asked. In other words, if you asked Jesus a question, you had a one-in-three chance of being asked one in return!
Jesus was a pioneer but He was also a rabbi, and rabbis answer by asking.
Why? Perhaps the best reason is found in the true story of a tourist who was shopping in a photographer’s gallery in Jerusalem. Finding it difficult to choose from all the beautiful photos, the woman decided to ask the Jewish photographer a question.
“Which one is your favorite?”
He replied, “Are you married?”
Now you might have expected her to walk out of the shop with- out an answer, thinking the man was very rude or quite forward. However, she had been on a tour of the city and learned that a rabbi answered questions with a question. So instead she replied,
“Yes . . . Why?”
“Do you have children?” was the even more random response. “Yes, three . . . Why?”
“Which one is your favorite?”
His third and final question contained the answer. Significantly, rather than informing her that his photographs were like children to him, he helped her feel what he felt about them.
The purpose of vision is not to pass on answers, but to pass on understanding.
The greatest vision comes from the greatest questions. The biggest vision comes from the biggest questions. Yet, the clearest vision comes from the most awkward questions.
If revelation comes from a conversation of awkward questions with God, then the dramatic simply gets our attention. The vision is not in the drama; the drama purely exists to help us recognize our blindness.
Think about it.
Mistakenly, we think Moses was given his vision of a burning bush. But the bush was not the vision; it simply caught his attention. His vision came from the following awkward conversation.
“I am sending you,” said God.
“Why me?” asked Moses. “I’m a nobody, I can’t speak well, and I know too little.”
Saul of Tarsus, later named Paul, who was the author of much of the New Testament, did not receive his revelation from a blinding light. No, the blinding light was just that—blinding! It took away his vision. His revelation also came from an awkward conversation.
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”
“Who are you, Lord?”
Vision is developed when we see something that captures our imagination or frustration and we ask Him a question. He asks us one back, and then, hopefully, we ask another. So the principle about vision that all pioneers must learn is this:
While the questions keep coming, so does the revelation.
When the conversation stops, the vision stops.
This is why so many people are living off of old ideas. For some reason, they ceased to ask God any more questions, or they refused to answer any of His. They have effectively stalled, and their vision is no longer sharp.
Pioneer, please let me ask, what is getting your attention right now? What awkward questions do you have for God? Do not worry. He is a big God. He does not suffer from doubt or insecurity. He is not in heaven thinking, Oh dear, I hope they don’t ask me that one!
I encourage you to ask your questions and keep asking them. But please do not walk away when you are asked something difficult in return.
God is not putting you off. He is drawing you in.
This is an excerpt from the book ‘The Line and the Dot’ by Paul Clayton Gibbs that equips you to navigate the four stages of vision. This is not just for pioneers that want to start something, but for everyone that tries to follow their dream. It both forewarns and forearms so that you can see your own vision fulfilled.
At the same time, Paul uses deep yet simple illustrations to create room for reflection and growth. He leads the reader on a journey of awkward questions which leads to self evaluation and ultimately, life change.
They also have a full length film about the four stages of vision called ‘The Spirit of a Pioneer’ that is based on the book. You can find it at: www.thespiritofapioneer.com.
We want to thank Jason at Brave Reviews for the opportunity to introduce this book to you.
Please consider purchasing ‘The Line and the Dot’ at www.thelineandthedot.com.
Share about this book with your friends and visit our website for more information at: www.paismovement.com.
About the author
Paul Clayton Gibbs has a mission and a vision to make missionaries who make missionaries all over the world…and he is doing it through the Pais Movement which he founded in 1992. This global ministry is currently impacting six continents, not just sharing the gospel, but equipping, training, and mentoring people to advance the Kingdom of God. Serving as Global Director of Pais, Paul is a gifted speaker, teacher, and author who spends much of his time producing resources to train and mentor Christian leaders. He also travels throughout the world, speaking and teaching. Originally from Manchester, England, Paul and his wife Lynn have two grown sons Joel and Levi. The couple now resides in Arlington, Texas.
Follow him on Facebook /paulcgibbs and Twitter @paulcgibbs.