Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Did You Expect?

"Jesus began talking about him to the crowds. 'What kind of man did you go into the wilderness to see? Was he a weak reed, swayed by every breath of wind? Or were you expecting to see a man dressed in expensive clothes? No, people who wear beautiful clothes and live in luxury are found in palaces. Were you looking for a prophet?...For John the Baptist didn’t spend his time eating bread or drinking wine, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!'" Luke 7:24-26,33,34 NLT

Jesus asked the crowds a question that provokes me to consideration. "What do you expect?" Neither John the Baptist or Jesus were what the crowds expected. John lived outdoors,was in your face, ate bugs and dressed funny. Jesus hung out with sinners.

Expectations in a proper perspective are appropriate. When you dine at an expensive restaurant you expect good food and service. In a marriage you expect your spouse to be faithful. However, unmet, unspoken and unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others can be a real problem.

On a vacation where I stayed at home, my wife Peggy and I experienced the challenge of expectations. We both had unspoken, unmet and self-centered expectations. We were disappointed. We fought. We hurt each other. Thank God we made up!

What are the expectations that you place on yourself? I was really stressed out one day. The Lord showed me that the root of my stress was an expectation that I put on myself. I had placed an expectation upon myself that was unreasonable. No one put it on me. I did it. I was sabotaging myself. I'm not saying that we shouldn't challenge ourselves. Sometimes we just go overboard.

What are the expectations that you are placing on others? Are they clearly communicated? Are they fair? Are they self-centered? Are they realistic? Are they thought out?

The Old Testament prophet Micah wrote;
"O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

We can expect to take the Lord at his word. His word is true. When we blow it we can receive the grace to repent. We receive the love that forgives us all our sins. Do we extend the same love, mercy and forgiveness?

So, what do you expect?

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