August 28, 2012 - Expectation
By Greg Ebie
I remember a number of years ago when the new school year was underway. Each of the kids was dealing with their expectations for the school year. Jacob, our kindergartner, broke down and cried, overwhelmed at the thought of learning to read. Somehow he thought he would have to do it all at once and was glad to discover he would just learn a little each day. Greg, in the 11th grade at the time, was making the adjustment to being at home again for school. While he enjoyed some new freedoms, his expectations and mine weren’t the same. We butted heads a little, trying to settle on just how things were going to get done.
With a fresh start before you this year, perhaps your family is likewise dealing with a new set of expectations. New friends, better grades, favorite teachers, subjects to dread and others to enjoy — these and countless other thoughts fill our minds at the beginning of school. What will become of our expectations when September gives way to October and November? Will we be satisfied? Will we be disappointed? Will we be ready to throw in the towel or committed to working hard and seeing the year through to the end?
“And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will” (2 Corinthians 8:5, NIV).
Paul was amazed by the Macedonian Christians. Out of their extreme poverty they gave to help meet the needs of others. Yet these folks exceeded his expectations because they first gave themselves to the Lord and then responded in giving according to God’s will for their lives.
Paul used the example of the Macedonian Christians to challenge the Corinthian believers. While the Corinthians had a greater abundance of wealth, Paul’s expectations were not very high. He was afraid they might be selfish and keep what they had for themselves.
My desire isn’t to talk about giving, but about expectations. What can make the difference between exceeding our expectations and being disappointed? I think it will all come down to who or what we give ourselves too.
The Macedonians gave themselves to God and in turn were committed to doing His will for their lives. God’s expectations and desires for our lives are far greater than ours are. Why? For one thing, His resources are limitless. God looks beyond problems and sees possibilities of what can be.
Let’s not make the mistake of limiting our expectations by what we can or can’t do. Let’s dream big and see what God will do in and through us as we first give ourselves to the Lord and His will. With God we can exceed every expectation and not be disappointed. What do you think?
— D. Greg Ebie is senior pastor of Praise Assembly of God in Garrettsville, Ohio, and an author of Daily Bread devotionals.