Chapter 5. The vision of a senior officer

Vision is a significant characteristic of the behavior of great leaders. The ability to look beyond the details of today to the important things of the future, and to communicate those ideas in an inspirational manner, is a necessary element of successful leadership. This will be true for both your professional and spiritual leadership. We encourage you to spend time in the following passages and reflect on your leadership role in imparting vision.

The Vision of Caleb and Joshua

NUMBERS 13:1-14:24. Caleb and Joshua had a different vision of Canaan than did the other ten spies. The basis for their vision included these very important factors:

  1. They were aware of the overall mission of the nation–to occupy the land God had given it.
  2. They were aware of the capability of the nation and of God. They trusted Him to fulfill His promise to give the land to Israel.
  3. They were men of integrity and faith. They did not test the wind of popular opinion and then go with the group. The vote was ten to two against them. Yet in the face of considerable opposition they boldly stood for what they believed.
  4. They were dedicated to service–to a purpose beyond themselves. Even though their vision was rejected, they continued to serve in important positions of leadership for forty years, and eventually they saw the fulfillment of the vision they had so clearly foreseen forty years earlier.

Study Numbers chapters 1 and 23 and Numbers 24:1-15. CALEB. See Joshua 14:6-15.


PROVERBS 11:14a. “Where there is no guidance, the people fall” (NASB). “For a lack of guidance a nation falls” (NIV).

PROVERBS 29:18a. “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained” (NASB). “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint” (NIV).

The truths of these two passages have significant implications for leaders in their professional and spiritual responsibilities. There are several important principles you can glean from them:

  1. Counsel, guidance and vision are leadership responsibilities. They flow from the top down. They must come from a recognized position of authority, or they may be rejected. In our mission field, the military, that is the purpose of the rank structure. Spiritually, we recognize that God and His Word provide an authoritative vision for our lives.
  2. The benefit of counsel, guidance, vision, is for the body, not the individual leader. The beneficiary is to be the people, the nation, not the individual who has been given a position of high responsibility.
  3. The result of counsel, guidance and vision, is a healthy people, a healthy nation, capable of fulfilling what God intends. If the missions of the people and of the nation are to be accomplished, visionary leadership directed by God is necessary.

Modern examples of the vision of senior officers

At the closing session of an OCF international conference some years ago, a U.S. Marine Corps officer expressed that God had given him a heart for being a light for Christ to the Marine Corps. He knew he could not do such a thing by himself, but he spent much of his energy toward that end by using the senior positions and the spiritual gifts God provided to him.

In November 1991, two Russian military officers attended an American OCF/CMF conference in Germany. They had been Christians for only a few years. They stated: “We believe that Jesus Christ can change our nation. Pray with us that it will happen.”

An Army officer serving as an infantry brigade executive officer wrote from Saudi Arabia about the ways God was working in his division. He recalled his initial prayers when he had received orders to the division in the states: “I had asked God for 20 studies, and believed He could make 30, so I could send words of encouragement. I never thought the Lord would do it this way, as we have now discovered a new meaning for ‘divide and multiply’.”

God may not give you a vision for your entire military service, or even for your entire unit, but if you pray and ask, He will give you vision for a specific task He wants you to do. Then pray that your vision will grow as you continue to mature in your faith and walk with Him. Be a person of faith, although you cannot see all of the details.

We encourage you to ask God for a spiritual vision that includes the unique opportunities and capabilities that your position and rank afford the Body of Christ in your military unit and community!

Study questions

Given your current position and rank, how can you provide godly vision in your professional responsibilities?

How can you provide godly vision to the OCF at your location?