A friend (Don Martens) shared this photo and it struck a chord with me.  It reminds me of a TV commercial I once did for a former church where my tag line was: “When it’s all been said and done … then what?”

The “end of your dock” could be most anything …


  • End of your life
  • End of a relationship
  • End of a job
  • End of a journey
  • End of a marriage
  • End of a trip
  • End of schooling
  • Etc.  Add your own …

Today I spoke at Toastmasters about the importance of vision … the importance of having a plan for the future … the importance of knowing what to do at the “end of your dock.”  What follows is just part of a longer message I have done many times titled “Vision … Mission … Passion”.  Prayerfully it may be of some help for those of you who reach those ending points … whatever they may be …

See The VISION.  Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)—“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”  We see this in families, relationships, businesses, marriages, churches & schools.  There is no focus; things spin out of control; they lose the driving energy/force.  In a Peanuts comic strip, there was a conversation between Lucy & Charlie Brown.  Lucy said that life is like a deck chair.  Some place it so they can see where they are going; some place it so they can see where they have been; & some place it so they can see where they are at present.  Charlie Brown’s reply:  “I can’t even get mine unfolded.”

In Leadership magazine, Lynn Anderson described what happens when a people lose their vision: “A group of pilgrims landed on the shores of America 350 years ago.  With great vision & courage they had come to settle in the new land.  In the first year they established a town.  In the second, they elected a town council. In the third, the government proposed building a road 5 miles westward into the wilderness.  But in the fourth year the people tried to impeach the town council because they thought such a road into the forest was a waste of public funds.  Somehow these forward-looking people had lost their vision.  Once able to see across oceans, they now could not look 5 miles into the wilderness.”

What Is The Remedy?

1st of all we need A Vision from the Past.   Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father & he will tell you, your elders & they will explain to you.”   Romans 15:4 “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance & the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Goals & plans are the magic keys to happiness & success!  Only 3% of all people have goals & plans & write them down.  Ten percent more have goals & plans, but keep them in their heads.  The rest—87%—drift through life without definite goals or plans.  They do not know where they are going & others dictate to them.  Let’s examine these statistics further.  The 3% who have goals & plans that are written down accomplish from 50-100 times more during their life than the 10% who have goals & plans & merely keep them in their heads.  These statistics alone should motivate you to set definite personal goals, establish a plan of action for their fulfillment, & then commit both your goals & plans to writing.  And please note, the Creator committed his goals & plans to writing in the Holy Bible!

But, as Isaiah 43:18 reminds “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.”  The reason?  Sometimes the past brings with it baggage that hinders ministry instead on releasing it.  As Samuel Johnson said, “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.”  Or from one of my favorite new books, Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers, this quote:  “Making decisions & controlling what happens is more important in established churches that making disciples.”  The author goes on to say that the sacred cow of the past people & churches worship most often is control, which is easily identified by statements like these:

We’ve never done it that way before.

We tried that before & it didn’t work.

No one does THAT in OUR church.

We don’t do things that way.

It’s too radical a change for us.

If only it were that easy.

When you’ve been around longer, you’ll understand why it can’t be done.

How dare you criticize what we’re doing.

We’ve been running the church since long before you were born.

Who gave you permission to change the rules?

What your suggestion is against the rules/constitution/etc.

Won’t that open us up to liability?

2nd we need A Vision for Today.  Rom 13:8-12   And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness & put on the armor of light.

I need a truer vision, Lord.   A vision filled with Thee

To see the needy world again With eyes willing to see.

A world where people are hurting And hungry every day,

A world that’s ready & waiting To hear what You would say.

I need a wider vision, Lord, A vision filled with Thee.

To see that lonely woman Down the street from me.

The teenager who’s all mixed up, The child who’s been abused,

The day-to-day cares in my neighborhood. Lord, I want to be used.

Give me a new vision, Lord.  A vision filled with Thee,

To see the world & my neighborhood  As Your eyes would see.

Help me use my gifts, dear Lord, In ways that glorify You,

To act with loving kindness Toward those with a different view.

A truer, wider, new vision, Lord. That’s what I need

To carry out Your commands In word & thought & deed.

3rd, we need A Vision For Tomorrow (God-willing).  James 4:13-15  Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business & make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What’s your life? You’re a mist that appears for a little while & then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live & do this or that.”

“The world stands aside,” said David Jordan, “to let anyone pass who knows where he is going.”  This applies to those, who learn where they are going late in life as well as for the young.  At age 53, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female prime minister.  At 64, Francis Chichester sailed alone around the world in a 53’ yacht.  At 65, Winston Churchill became British prime minister for the 1st time & started the epic struggle against Hitler.  At 72, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.  At 75, Ed Delano of California bicycled 3100 miles in 33 days to attend his 50th college reunion in Worcester, MA.  At 76, Cardinal Angelo Roncalli became Pope John XXIII & inaugurated major changes in his church.  At 80, Grandma Moses, who had started painting in her late 70s, had her first one-woman exhibit.  At 81, Benjamin Franklin skillfully mediated between disagreeing factions at the U.S. Constitutional Convention. At 80, Winston Churchill returned to the House of Commons as a member of parliament & also exhibited 62 of his paintings.  At 96, George C. Selbach scored a 110-yard hole-in-one at Indian River, MI.  And on his 100th birthday, ragtime pianist Eubie Blake exclaimed, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

And 4th, we need A Vision For Our Future.  John 14:2-3  In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go & prepare a place for you, I will come back & take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

And how do we find that vision?  I know of only 3 ways: Worship, Bible Study, & Prayer.  MORE ABOUT THAT SOMETIME SOON … PARTS 2 & 3 …