Eugene Has a Vision From God

by Andy Wood on June 24, 2011

in Exploring the Possibilities, Gamblers, LV Alter-egos, LV Cycle, Tense Truths

(The further adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)

“What would be s good time to come by your office?”

The voice on the other end of the phone was none other than Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian and resident expert on all things spiritually enormous.

Normally Eugene would pop in, sort of like the Allies dropped by to pay the Germans a visit at Normandy.  But this was different.  It had the air of urgency.  Eugene Davis was always serious and everything was important.  But this was a step beyond.  It was deliberate.  Ruggedly precise.  Appointment-worthy.

“I’m free about 3:00,” I said.  ”What’s up?”  (To this day I don’t like ambushes in meetings.)

“I think the Lord has given me a vision.”

“Well,” said I, ”I’ll be here.  Come on by.”

Apparently I didn’t send the right signal.  Didn’t catch the gravy of the situation.  This was a vision.  From God!

“Are you sure you’re not too busy?” he pressed.

“For you?  Never.  Can’t wait to hear what the Lord’s put on your heart.”

Eugene had this pensive, prayerful-but-cocky look on his face when he came in.  Sorta like that guy on the GEICO Commercials who asks, “Can switching to GEICO really save you 15% on car insurance?”

He began:  “Have you noticed that there’s nothing for teenagers to do in this town except get in trouble?”

“I hear that a lot,” I replied.  “Last Saturday night I rode down Main and felt like I was cruising through a tailgating party.”

“I have a solution,” Eugene said, pulling out an impressive-looking proposal document.  It had a professional cover, about 12 pages of linen text pages, and bold letters on the front that said The Nehemiah Center.  Flipping through the proposal, I realized I was looking at a business plan.  In Jesus’ name, of course.  And it wasn’t just for our town.  The last page suggested that God’s vision for Eugene would duplicate this plan throughout the state.  And from there, God only knew.

“Soooo,” I started, “the vision is for a teen center?”  (Confession:  My unspoken, sarcastic cynical thought was, “Wow!  Nobody’s ever thought of that before!”)

“That’s just for starters,” Eugene gushed.  “We’ll build a multi-purpose facility with a gym, party room, game room, concession stand or coffee bar, and screening room for movies or videos.  When we’re not doing our own programming, we can rent out the space for parties, receptions, and special events.”

“That’s pretty ambitious,” I said.  “How do you plan to staff it?  Labor can be pretty expensive.”

“That’s the beauty of it,” said Eugene.  “The Lord will raise up volunteers to staff it so that we can run it with one paid director.”

“And that would be you?”

“Oh, no.  I will be the chairman of the board and be involved in planning future facilities in other locations.

“And you have a plan to publicize this?”

“Absolutely.  Starting with word of mouth.  But we’ll also do some other things to get the word out.”

“Okay, and the big question…”

“How will we pay for it?” Eugene interrupted.

“Yeah, that.”

“Donations.  Individual, church, corporate.  Major fund raising.  When people catch the vision, the money will take care of itself.”

“You know,” I offered, “anytime somebody tells me ‘the money will take care of itself,’ the money always seems to have a way of misbehaving.”

“I’m telling you, I’ve heard from the Lord on this,” Eugene insisted, showing me the promise from the Lord he had received in Scripture:

“Behold I send My messenger ahead of you, and he shall prepare the way for you” (Matthew 11:10).

“Isn’t that about John the Baptist?” I asked.

“Yes, in that context.  But the Lord showed me through this that he is sending a messenger before me, too.”

“I see.  So what does your accountability group have to say about it?”

Eugene shook his head and frowned.  “They don’t get it,” he replied.  “They had a lot of the same kind of questions you did.  A couple of them suggested I wait on the Lord for clearer direction and provision.”

“And that’s a problem?”

“These kids need something now.  Plus, I heard that the Methodist church is thinking about a similar idea.  I’ve got to move on this.”

I answered, “I heard somebody say once that if it’s God’s will today, it’ll still be God’s will tomorrow.  Don’t you think they may be trying to protect you?”

“I don’t need their protection!  I need their support!”

“And what does Alice say?”

“Oh, she gives me that amused ‘Whatever you day, dear’ line.  She doesn’t really see the vision either.”

“And your home group?  Let me guess – they don’t see the vision either.”

Eugene sidestepped the question.  “Whatever happened to people wanting to do something big for God?” he exclaimed.

“Let me put it another way,” I pressed.  “Who’s heart-deep with you on this?”

“Well, Amy loves the idea.”

“Amy’s eleven!  She likes anything that sounds like fun.”

“Look, didn’t I hear you say the other day that even if we’re the only one obeying the Lord, we have to be willing to be the only one?” Eugene asked.

“Yep.  But you do have to make sure it’s the Lord you’re obeying.  Or that your ‘vision isn’t waiting for an appointed time,’ like Habakkuk said.”

“So you don’t see the vision either!”  Eugene’s tone was rising to holy exasperation.

“I don’t have to.  It’s not my vision.  But I will tell you this – if the Lord brings all the pieces together and lines up the resources, I will have been there cheering you on from Day 1.  But just remember, there really is safety in a multitude of counselors.  And the greatest visionaries in the Bible waited months or sometimes up to 40 years before their dreams came true.”

I thought that word of encouragement would sow some wisdom into Eugene’s mind.  But alas, he had already written me off as a dream stealer.

“I thought you might have been the one to prepare the way,” he said.  “I guess I’ll keep looking.”

“Eugene, you know what’s tricky about having a vision from God?” I asked.

“What’s that?”

“It makes you think you’re really important.”

Eugene’s face turned even redder.  I went on.

“Having a vision from the Lord is important.  But it doesn’t make us important.  In fact, it makes us rather ordinary.  I worry about the guy that doesn’t have any vision at all.  He’s important because he’s dangerous.”

Eugene was quiet, and quiet was good in his case.  It meant he was actually thinking.

“Having a vision doesn’t separate you from people – it should bind you to them.  And if it’s a God-sized vision it may involve some God-sized praying or, like in Nehemiah’s case, some months-long weeping to make it happen.”

More silence.  Not so red a face.

“Oh, and how many times does having a ‘vision from the Lord’ involve making the visionary invisible or inconspicuous?  Would you be as motivated if you had no guarantee of success?  Or if you never impacted anybody outside of this town?”

“But if God is in it…”  I didn’t let him finish.

“One other thought…  What are their names?”

“Who?  The investors and potential donors?”

“No.  The teenagers you’re trying to reach.”

“Um…”

More silence.  And a different kind of red.

Eugene had promised to give the idea some more thought and prayer when I convinced him I wasn’t against him or his vision.  I waited until I saw his tail lights disappearing, then opened the cabinet door in my office.  There, tucked back in the corner, was an aging, rolled-up set of drawings.  I hadn’t looked at them in years.

The bold label at the top proclaimed, “The Living Room:  A Place for Teenagers to Find Life.”

“Who knows?”  I muttered to nobody with a smile and a sigh.

Keep dreaming, Eugene.  Just give the rest of us time to dream with you.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Evelyn June 24, 2011 at 11:54 am

Oh man! This one just left me hanging, sir! Why did… But when…. And it wasn’t even…. How come…. So now what?! Eugene! Don’t roll it up or put it away in your cabinet! Hang it up where you can see it everyday, Eugene!

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