Great Expectations

“And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. (Galatians 6:9)

The other day, my daughter was helping me with chores. She offered to do anything and everything. When I asked her for her help she was excited to jump in and do whatever she could. So on this particular day, I took advantage of her giving spirit and asked her to do one last chore while I made dinner. She took the laundry off the clothes line for me which is no easy task since it’s in the high 90’s most days. It was a scorcher but my little trooper was determined to be a servant and went out there to take the clothes down for me. While she was gone, I thought to myself, I need to do something for her. She has done so much for me today. I want to give her something to reward her for her service. Then it happened. She walked in and said in an irritated voice, “I’d better get something for this!” Now, I understand it was hot and she was being ever so gracious to help me out so I didn’t have to stand out there in the heat, but really? Who does she think she is?

Then conviction set in. I started thinking of times that I have done something out of the goodness of my heart and received nothing in return. Was I thankful for the opportunity to serve? Or was I disappointed I didn’t get what I expected? Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about what I expect from others and what I expect from God. When I’m, what I consider to be a “good friend” or have a “servant’s heart” toward others, I expect the same in return. I try to be thoughtful. I try to bless those around me as much as I can. I want to do for others and yet I find myself expecting something in return. That’s not how service is supposed to work. If we do something, we do it for God as an act of appreciation for what He has done for us. We want to spread that attitude of service. If that is the case, then we should not receive anything for our efforts. Yet, I find myself expecting.

I do the same with God. If my behavior is a certain way, then I expect God to bless me. If I tithe, there will always be enough money to pay the bills. If I serve at church, God will bless me. If I raise my kids in the church, they will follow God one day. I have expectations for my hard work. I want results. I want something in return for all that I’ve invested. I get it. We walk in obedience and God blesses. But our ideas of blessings are different from God’s. We give our tithe and God said that He would “pour out a blessing” on us. Wait! He didn’t say He would give us job security. He didn’t say our investments would flourish. He didn’t say we would never be strapped for money. In fact, He said blessing, not money. But because the first part of that verse talks about tithing, we think it’s all about money. We have expectations. When God says “Train up a child in the way he should go. When he is old he will not depart from it.” we expect kids who follow after the heart of God all the days of their lives. That’s not what He said. The reality is that our kids will do what they want. We have to pray for them and pray hard. The promise is that what we pour into them will not depart from them. The scripture they have memorized and the stories we have told them will never leave them for they are a part of them. But that scripture doesn’t say that our kids will be Godly.

I guess my point for today is that we have some great expectations from God and those around us. And when we are disappointed it takes us some time to recover. At least that’s how it is with me. I wonder though, if we aren’t limiting God with our expectations. I think that our desires are so much smaller than what God wants to bless us with. The other day when my daughter was outside, I was thinking of what I was going to do for her. I wanted to do something special. It had to be something that would really show her my appreciation. Instead, because of her attitude of entitlement, she was reprimanded. She came to me at the end of the day before she went to bed and gave me a big hug. She began to sob and said “I didn’t know you were going to do anything for me”. My heart broke and at the same time I was convicted. Perhaps, in my ungrateful attitude, I have not waited long enough for God. Maybe, just maybe, He wants to bless me with the desires of my heart and I became impatient. There have been many times I have gone to God sobbing because I had a bad attitude. I wonder how many blessings I have missed out because my expectations were less than God’s intentions.

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