Expectations

Photo by Ben Hershey on Unsplash

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”  Then He said to them, “Watch out!  Be on your guard against all kinds of greed, life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.  –Luke 12:13-15. (NIV)

As I am writing today’s Blogspiration, the morning news is filled with a carousel of college football coaches that have either been hired or fired.

In every case that I know of, expectations were high as each college sought an experienced head coach that knew how to win football games.

“We stand on the precipice of a new era,” one athletic director after another announced. “The man we have hired is a proven winner. Past experience shows his unprecedented ability to recruit high-performance players that can launch our team into national prominence.”

Fans were excited. Players were chomping at the bits. At last, a coach that would transform the face of a broken program.

But over the weekend, a number of those miracle workers are sitting amongst the rank of the unemployed, unable to deliver their promises.

Expectations alone do not a good football team make. And athletic directors are just as human as the rest of us. Their expectations often exceed reality.

There are a lot of parallels between coaching changes in sports and pastoral changes in churches. When it comes time for selecting a new pastor, the leadership searches for one who can walk on water, heal all diseases, negotiate complicated business transactions, preach like Billy Graham, and single-handedly grow the largest church in town.

In The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, one of the members orders the pastor to insist that his daughter cannot marry the man of her dreams.  The expectation failed because Pastor Preechet understood his calling to give people the freedom to make their own decisions. Coercion never ultimately succeeds.

The man in this week’s scripture discovered that Jesus was too wise to place Himself in the middle of a family dispute.

We all need to acknowledge that the very best we can do for others is to lead them, not order them around.

Jesus admonished the disciples on more than one occasion about lording it over people.  Instead, he told them they were called to be servants.

It is more humbling to be a servant for sure, but it is more productive and it is a lot more like Jesus.

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