Recently I read a quote from Vaclav Havel, playwright and one time president of Czechoslovakia, “Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.” As I read it I was struck by two things: first how cleverly it was translated into English preserving the double entendre, and secondly that I want to be a person of vision and of venture!
Jesus of course had a marvellous eschatological vision and he took upon himself the great venture of redemption and reconciliation. Sometimes today we hear a strange term “Christian activist” but I think if we are truly following the visionary and adventurous Christ, then the word Christian ought to make the word activist redundant.
Alas too many of us make so little difference in our worlds that Christianity is seen as inconsequential in the world. Often when we hear the word ‘activist’, we think of a liberal or even Marxist decrying the excesses of capitalism. While I may have sympathy with those voices in the wilderness, I believe there is enormous room for ordinary followers of Jesus to make a difference. Scriptures tell us “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Ordinary Christians like you and I need to recover a sense of the vision of Jesus and seek a vision that includes our neighbourhood, our business, our school, our home, etc. What would my home be if I truly followed Jesus example? By asking such questions we invite the Holy Spirit to stir up a vision that is personal but it also eminently practical!
We cannot just stare up the steps we must step up the stairs. Have a vision as the first step but then actively participate in it. In prayer ask God to participate as well.
I sometimes liken the church in the west to a Stanley Cup hockey game which goes into double overtime. There on the ice are 12 men in dire need of rest while in the stands and on couches across the land there are thousands and thousands who could really use some exercise. We cannot leave activism to radicals or to professionals, if we are His followers we are activists in our settings.
I am determined to “step up the stairs”. Thanks Vaclav.