A Vision with Value

Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it (Habakkuk 2:2).

Zig Ziglar once said that when a person has a strong vision and a problem arises, the problem will be like a pebble on the beach they simply kick out of the way. However, if a person has no vision and a problem arises, it will be like a tidal wave washing them into the sea. We have found through working with couples, that this saying is very true. Setbacks and problems are just a pebble on the beach for couples who clearly know their God-given vision together, but for a couple with no clear purpose and plan, problems often seem to become tidal waves. This is most likely why strife in a marriage and lack of a Christ-centered vision often go hand in hand. Without a strong eternal purpose together, believers are often washed into the same tidal wave of marriage disappointment that the world struggles with.
It has been recorded that within the first five years of marriage the number one struggle marriages deal with is financial hardship. Although lack of wisdom with finances and lack of self-control in spending are frequent causes for financial hardship, we strongly believe one of the biggest roots to financial problems within marriage is that many couples do not know their God-given purpose for being together, which often results in a focus on things of the world rather than the things of God.
In our early years of marriage, we had very little. There was not any extra money for dates, gifts, or extra purchases of any sort. We thank God that as we look back on it, we never had one argument over money. We believe a large reason for this was that our vision together was so strong. We refused to get discouraged by the financial situation we were in because we knew God had a plan for our lives together. We also knew Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” We trusted God that if we pursued His plan for our life and marriage, He would take care of us and we would experience the goodness the Bible talks about.
The Bible encourages us to have a vision and make it plain, so we can run with it. Sometimes couples we encounter have some vision as an individual for their career or maybe parenting, which is good, but more is needed. Unless a couple has a focused, eternal purpose in their relationship together, they often end up just striving after material things as the rest of the world does. However, when a couple has a Christ-centered vision, they are no longer satisfied with the status quo of just going to church on Sundays, reading their Bible on occasion, then living like the rest of the world throughout the week, doing little to nothing of eternal value.
God created us as humans with a desire to do something of lasting value and to be a gift to the lives of others. We were created in God’s image, and He does things of eternal value. Therefore we also have an inherent desire to create something meaningful with our lives. Sin has tried its best to corrupt this desire in people, but when a person gives their life to God, the desire for their God-given purpose is renewed in them. Our goal today is to stir up that desire in you if it has been lying dormant or untapped. God has a plan for you to do something to change the world with lasting, eternal impact, not just as an individual but also as a couple.
How do we create a vision together with lasting value? This first begins with understanding what vision really is. When Habakkuk 2:2 says, “Write the vision and make it plain…,” the Hebrew word used for vision actually means a dream or a revelation that comes from God (Strong’s #2377). So creating our vision together first begins with receiving a revelation or dream in our hearts from God. We can pray and ask God what we are called to do with our spouse.
Sometimes people know even as children what they are called to do. God places this in our spirit from the moment we are conceived. The Bible even says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). This means when He created us, He knew all along what our purpose would be. When we ask God to reveal to us His dream and plan for our life together, we can trust that He will be faithful to show us.
Together with our spouse, we can write down each of our gifts and talents and how we believe they are meant to work with our spouse’s gifts and calling. As God reveals His plan for us, we then turn that plan into goals. In Philippians 3:14 Paul states, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Notice Paul did not say that he pressed toward the prize. He said he pressed toward the goal, which is also translated as “mark” in the King James Version.
Paul didn’t aimlessly say, “Boy, I sure hope I’ll get a prize or reward someday for having done something right while I was on the earth!”  No, Paul said he pressed toward a goal. He knew it was a Christ-centered and Christ-directed goal that would please God. God wants each of us in our personal life and marriage to have goals that we plan and attain under His leading, so we can accomplish the purpose for which He placed us on earth. He can also then give us greater eternal rewards when we get to heaven!
When we know what God has called us to do, we can make intermediate goals with action plans as a mark to measure our success in moving toward the ultimate goal. Some questions we might ask ourselves are: Do these goals further God’s kingdom? Do our individual goals fit into our ultimate goal as a team in marriage? What do we need to do to prepare ourselves to fulfill each goal? What roadblocks might we need to overcome on the way and how will we overcome them? When do we plan to achieve each goal?
Team goals may encompass areas such as financial goals of consistent giving above the tithe to certain ministries each month, having a daily family Bible study time or prayer time together, volunteering together in a certain area of the church, sponsoring children who live in poverty in another country through a trusted ministry, or doing short term missions work together. It is also important to have goals in other areas as well, such as quality marriage time, family time, financial, exercise, and things of this nature. Just remember to keep God first place.
We once heard a story about a couple that attended a marriage conference and got a big wake up call. They said the conference speaker mentioned how most Christian couples just want to be financially secure and happy, and then if God is pleased with them, that would be great too. The conference speaker went on to say the trouble with this mindset is that when we make security and happiness our top goals, these things become impossible to attain because we are seeking our own pleasures rather than seeking the kingdom of God first. When this couple analyzed where the majority of their money went and how they spent the majority of their time, they realized they were not seeking the kingdom of God first but, rather, living primarily for personal gain.
The couple wrote out new goals and then began to boldly pursue them. They personally and financially began supporting a marriage ministry, a ministry to feed and train the poor, and several pastors. They determined to work with and support the same pastors, churches, and ministries each month, knowing that a consistent, focused effort will produce more lasting results than sporadic involvement. Years later, this couple commented that after they changed their focus from desiring a big house, financial security, and promotion to instead pursuing the furthering of God’s kingdom, all of these former desires had been added to them without their even trying. 
This couple is living proof that when we take care of what concerns God, He will take care of what concerns us. God passionately wants to reward you and your family for doing what He has called you to do. He is just looking for avenues through which He can pour out His blessing on you! When we as believers set eternal goals and advance in the steps to His ultimate plan for our lives, this creates wonderful avenues for His goodness to pour out in the greatest measure on our life and the lives of those around us. May you and your spouse passionately pursue and achieve all He has called you to do and may you be rewarded greatly for making an eternal difference in the lives of others!
In love,
Shaun & Amy