Without a Vision, The People Perish

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

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Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18 Click To Tweet

Said another way… Without a vision, the people perish.

This is one of my favorite scriptures in the Bible for the small business owner.

I’ve known (or thought I’ve known) this scripture for many years.

Though I’ve quoted this passage many times, as I sat down to write this devotional I realized that I’ve all but ignored the second part of it.

In fact, to be honest, I didn’t even know that part was there.

Proverbs is a wonderful book full of wisdom that you can take verse by verse and apply to your life.

That being said, let’s unpack this scripture a little.

Vision is the Catalyst to Growth

Helen Keller was once asked if there was anything worse than being blind.

She responded by saying that if she woke up one morning, put her feet on the floor, and realized that she had no vision…. that would be worse.

Wow. What a powerful person.

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision. -Helen Keller Click To Tweet

To run any business effectively and even to run your life, you’ve got to have a vision.

A vision of where you want to go, who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish.

You also need to be able to communicate that vision effectively to your team, whether they are employees, volunteers, or family members.

Without a clear vision, people just exist and take up space.
They live for nothing.
They accomplish nothing.

Hence… Without a vision, the people perish.

They aren’t striving for achievement, which is the catalyst of growth.

More importantly, if there’s no growth… there’s erosion, decay, and death.

Where there is no growth... there's erosion, decay, and destruction. Click To Tweet

What does the verse say? It says…

Without a Vision, The People Perish

I don’t know about you, but perish means death to me.
If a plant isn’t growing, it’s dying.

No plant, animal, or organism just grows to a certain point and then pauses life.

If it’s living, it’s either growing or dying. It’s the cycle of life.

The same is true in you and I.

The difference is that for people, the death can be spiritual, emotional, relational, etc.

If any of these areas are unhealthy, it’s an inward sign that points to the death of something.

Usually there are outward signs of decay even in the internal areas such as emotional, relational, or spiritual decay.

That’s because they manifest themselves in different ways.

A dying business will manifest signs of it being unhealthy (just like a plant would) long before the business fails.

This is sometimes hard to recognize because people are involved.

We are complicated beings.

Unlike plants, we can hide signs from others and even from ourselves.

We have feelings, thoughts, and emotions that contradict each other.

Walt Whitman said,
Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).

…But he that Keepeth the Law, Happy is He.

This is the hope in this verse.

If you keep the law, meaning biblical principles, you will be happy.

Most of our unhappiness comes from divided interest and emotions within us.

It comes when we undermine our own beliefs and guiding principles.

You’d be surprised how much discontent goes away and how much more peace you have if you follow biblical guidelines while running your business (and personal life).

The question I have here is, how does the second part of the verse relate to the first?

On the surface they seem to be two totally different ideas with no clear connection.

More research suggests that “vision” in this verse is referring to the special vision (or revelation) of God.

Basically, it means that without the law of God or God’s word (God’s vision), people perish.

Focus on God’s Vision

This is where it get’s deep, as scripture often does.

The secret in business and in life is to have a God ordained vision.

Not just any old vision.
Any leader can have a vision.

I would bet money you could google “20 best vision statements” and get results that are better than what you would probably come up with on your own.

But what is God’s vision and purpose for you?
What is God’s vision for your business?
What is God’s vision for your career? Your family?
The choices and decisions you make?

If you haven’t figured that out or haven’t given much thought to it, I encourage you to start today.

Do this by physically changing something or keeping something with you all day.

It can be a ring you never wear.
It can be a watch switched to your other wrist.
It can be a weird object in your pocket or keeping your phone or wallet in a different pocket.

Anything that will flag your brain during the day to think “hey, that’s different or weird“.

When you have this thought, redirect it to the following question:
What is God’s purpose for my life?

Then pray and thoughtfully consider it.

Until you answer that question, you’ll never find fulfillment or ultimate happiness.

Questions for Reflection/Action Steps

  1. What is God’s Vision for your business? For your life? For your family?
  2. How can you ensure you are glorifying God as you run your business?
  3. Where do you need to let go and trust God in your business?


God, I know without a vision, the people perish. Please give me the wisdom to seek your vision for my life and business today. Give me the courage to say the things you lead me to say and do the things you lead me to do. Make your vision my vision.

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