Expectations are relationship-killers. The wife expects her new husband to be the Prince Charming of her dreams. The boss expects the new secretary to read his mind. The congregation expects the new pastor to reverse the declining attendance, preach inspiring sermons, and attend every social occasion. The pastor expects the members to support him, keep down dissension, and respond to every challenge he throws their way. I expect everyone who reads this blog to be challenged and inspired.
It sounds so noble to have high expectations. Like we believe in one another. But it’s a trap. The person who expects perfection of me has set us both up for disappointment. I am not perfect, and anyone looking my way to find it will leave in frustration. I am, however, encouraged to find Scripture dealing with this subject. Recently I have been reading Luke 6 and 7, making discoveries about our misplaced expectations and the rightful place to direct them.
Expectations of other people – Give them up.
In Luke 6:32-36, after commanding us to love our enemies and do good to those who do us wrong, Jesus cautions us to expect nothing from the people to whom we minister. It’s just like the carnal world, He says, to do things to others then sit back, expecting a proper response. “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them, without expecting to get anything back.” Everyone who ministers in the Church or through the Church would save themselves a lot of grief by jettisoning their expectations. If the people respond, fine; if not, that is their choice. Do your job and go on to the next task, with eyes on the Master.
Expectations of Jesus – Lift them up.
Luke 7:1-10 tells of the Roman centurion who intercedes with Jesus for his ailing servant, then sends a delegation to ask Him not even to bother coming to the house. “I do not consider myself worthy,” he said, then added, “But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” This man has focused everything on Jesus. That’s the point.
We never go wrong in looking to Jesus as our Shepherd, Sustainer, Strength, Salvation, and Song.
Don’t be put off by the ‘S’ words; believers can do this for every letter of the alphabet! Let me start you off …. Jesus is our:
Alpha, Almighty, Apostle, Amen, Author, and Advocate
Brightness, Beloved, Beginning, Bridegroom, Bread of life, and Branch
Chosen, Captain, Comforter, Cornerstone, Chief, and Counsellor