Vision

If you have ever been up the California coast you know that there are some amazing views, with myriad places to stop and look out over the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean. Beyond San Luis Obispo, there is an intriguing destination that is known to many people around the world. That destination is Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle was once a private residence of William Randolph Hearst, a man who was born into money but also had a very successful earthly career in the publishing industry and in politics. Hearst did not refer to this remote estate as a castle, but that is how it is known today. After taking a tour bus up a winding road, you can’t help but feel like you have encountered a home that is part mansion, part church and part art museum.

I won’t go into the details of Hearst’s life, but it is perhaps most diplomatic to suggest that there are many different ways to look at his legacy. Today, the Castle is perhaps the most profound reminder of his existence, particularly now that it is a National Historic Landmark.

As I was touring the Castle, I couldn’t help but think about Kingdom Causes Bellflower. That may seem like a strange connection, and it isn’t because I want us to build a massive castle on a distant hill. I thought about KCB because for all of his shortcomings, Mr. Hearst was a man of vision.

One of the more remarkable attributes of the Castle is that Hearst began the project in 1919, when he was 56 years old. Certainly there are people who start certain types of endeavors in the later years of their life, particularly if they have accumulated the financial means to do so. However, most people do not pursue a vision of this scale and then work on it for the next 28 years. Hearst had camped on this hill as a boy, and in his later years he decided that is was time to realize a vision that had been brewing within him throughout his entire life.

I don’t tell you this story because I specifically admire what he created. Hearst Castle is an impressive structure, and it is fascinating to hear the stories of who visited and how the estate was put together. What I do find admirable is the unrelenting vision, and that is what made me think of KCB.

Someday I may read a biography about Mr. Hearst, mostly because I want to know whether he always had this long-term plan, and if he had a thought on what it might eventually be. If you visit Hearst Castle today, you will see wings of the main house that are unfinished. The tour guides will suggest to you that because of Mr. Hearst’s need to tinker, the project may never have been completed even if he had lived for many more years.

As we love our neighbors in Bellflower, it is important for us to remember that the work may never be finished, and that is okay. The other important lesson is something that we can take from Mr. Hearst, even if our focus is much different than a grand earthly mansion. We must be people of inspired vision, and it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you have accomplished in your life to this point.

Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” If we are wiling to surrender our plans to the Lord, he will accomplish great things in this city.

Perhaps we are building a house of sorts in Bellflower. The view from Hearst Castle is beautiful, but there is a view coming that is far better than we could ever ask or imagine.