What do you want or expect from your congregation? ...your church? ...your own relationship with God?
What would you do if you got exactly what you wanted or expected from your congregation, your church, your own relationship with God?
What would you do if you didn't get what you wanted or expected from your congregation, your church, or your own relationship with God?
In the midst of frustrating times, these can be difficult questions to answer. When Jesus was approached and questioned based on the expectations of those around him, He responded in a very telling manner. In Matthew 11:1-19, Jesus addressed both the disciples of John the Baptist, as well as the crowds in the cities where He preached, to consider their expectations. John was wondering if Jesus was the Messiah. The Jews had thought that John would save them, but when he was carted off to prison, they looked to Jesus to free them from the yoke of Roman rule.
To them all, Jesus gave a bit of a reality check. He told John's disciples to report what they saw. To the cities of the Jews, He told them to stop behaving like children. But regardless of how often Jesus tried to redirect the expectations of His followers from Him to His Father, people did not seem to get it. Later on, even Jesus' own disciples showed that they had expectations that were off the mark when they asked if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel after His resurrection (Acts 1:6).
Like those who have come before us, we each have some kind of expectation for how things will pan out in our lives, in God's larger Church body, and in our congregation. Like those who have gone before us, if we aren't open to seeing things from God's perspective rather than from the vantage point of our preconceived expectations...we may be a bit surprised.
As we each reflect on our own expectations, it may be helpful to consider what drew us away from the sins of our pasts and to our Father. What did we expect to see on that journey? Did we want to see a reed shaken in the wind? A miracle of loaves and fishes or a healing? Or were we drawn out into the wilderness to hear a prophet declaring the words of God and the truth of the coming of His Kingdom?
Our expectations can lead us astray if they are not in line with God's. Let's make sure that we are seeking to align them and stay focused on what truly matters - His Plan! Have a wonderful Sabbath.