Great Expectations

Great Expectations

Someone said that if you aim at nothing, you’ll certainly hit it! Could that be why we’re not growing as we should, both as a congregation and as individuals? If I may borrow the title of a famous book, we ought to have Great Expectations! Let’s consider that statement from three angles: 

First, what are your expectations of God? Because He doesn’t give you miraculous gifts as he gave to some Christians in the first century, does that mean you should not expect much (or anything) from Him? Hardly! Paul wrote that God is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). That power is not confined to the age of miracles! In context, Paul deals with enduring trials, living by faith, practicing love, and understanding and appreciating what God did for us through Jesus and His church. Those things have little or nothing to do with speaking in tongues or miraculously healing the sick. 

Can God, through His word, save people who have wrecked their lives through sin? Intellectually, we know the answer is a resounding “Yes!” (Romans 1:16). But do we expect Him to do so? Actions speak more loudly than words. With how many people are you sharing the good news of salvation? How often and how fervently do you pray for the lost? That brings up our second angle: what are your expectations of yourself? 

Most people have reasonable expectations of themselves in day-to-day life. One expects to finish school successfully, advance up the employment ladder, make close friends, and be a productive member of society. But what about your relationship with God and service to Him? Many think that “coming to church” fulfills that dimension. We really don’t expect to accomplish much in true service to others (and thus to God). 

Rare, indeed, is the person with “great expectations” of accomplishment for the Lord. Instead comes the incessant refrain: “I can’t . . .” Why can’t you? Are you confined to your house with just enough provisions to survive day-to-day? That was Paul’s condition when he wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). 

Finally, what are your expectations of your children? You expect them to go to school and perhaps to college afterward, working and learning all the way. You expect them to find gainful employment. What about Bible class? What about the worship assembly? What about works of service to other people? Too often we excuse our children. “They’re too busy with . . .” (fill in the blank). We ought to be challenging them with Great Expectations. If you don’t expect them to do great things for God, guess what? They probably won’t! 

Let’s have Great Expectations of God, of ourselves, and of our children! 

                                                                                                                                           — Joe Slater