Next Monday on Oct. 8, we celebrate Columbus Day, a day set aside to honor a man who followed his vision to make the greatest discovery in history. We can learn much from his pursuit of his vision.
Columbus was not the first European to dream of reaching the countries of the Far East by sailing west. Some had tried and disappeared, and others returned with stories of the impossibility of such a journey. In fact, geographers had a good idea of the size of the earth, and it actually was impossible for a sailing ship to travel all the way from Europe to the Far East. Fortunately for Columbus, the Americas were much closer.
Columbus believed that his vision of discovery was given to him by God, and he followed his vision. Like Abraham, God led him to a country he did not know, and Columbus stumbled on the Americas instead of Asia. God's vision in your heart may seem impossible too, but He may surprise you with a new world on your way to a country you do not know.
With his vision in his heart, Columbus went to the greatest exploration kingdom of his time, Portugal. Here he tried in vain for eight years to interest the king in his plan to go west to reach the East. The trouble was that Portugal had a vision of reaching the East by sailing south around Africa. Columbus was trying to put new wine in an old wineskin. It is as true today as it was then: The powerful and successful will often continue to follow their vision and will kill your vision. If you let them.
Columbus left Portugal after learning his lesson and moved on to the kingdom of Spain. When he arrived, the country was in turmoil, fighting the Moors and struggling to survive. But, because of their challenges, the Spanish were willing to listen to a plan to circumvent the Portuguese monopoly on Eastern trade. Columbus spent another seven years in Spain selling his plan, but his perseverance paid off. In 1492, he was given three ships and sailed west into history. If you are patient and persistent, God will send you the resources you need for your vision too.
Alas, Columbus provided to be a great explorer but a poor manager. His business arrangement with the king of Spain should have made him fabulously wealthy, but his inability to use the management giftings of others eventually led the king of Spain to revoke their arrangement. Columbus suffered the same fate as many modern visionaries who cling so tightly to the vision that they choke it off. Instead, as your vision begins to come true, find those God has placed around you with giftings to expand your vision beyond your abilities and keep it alive.
Christopher Columbus, the greatest explorer is history, achieved his vision and then lost it. He died a poor man.
Seek God for your vision and learn from Columbus how to guard your God-given vision from the vision of others, be patient and persistent, and bring in those with other giftings to help keep your vision alive. Avoid his mistakes and leave an inheritance for your children and grandchildren.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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