I have held this belief for many years; that expectations are the root of all disappointment. Sharing this view with family, friends and work associates usually draws a polite, but poorly-veiled look of disagreement and confusion.
This past weekend my wife and I traveled to Birmingham to visit two of our children. We were not disappointed at all in the time we spent together, the meals we shared, the billiards lesson I was able to impart to my son (schooled him, I did.) So aside from the pool games, our expectations were met, which meant little disappointment to weigh on our hearts.
Our time together culminated in attending church Sunday morning with both son and daughter before we hit the road home. They have a great church. Young church, young pastors, young congregation, full of energy and zeal for the Lord. I felt no disappointment at all that we lingered to share worship together, which meant a late, long drive home.
The sermon for the first week of Lent? Expectations!
The sermon pointed to the expectations of the followers of Jesus Christ as He entered Jerusalem on the donkey.
“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” John 12:15
As Jesus’ authority became known on earth, people began to follow him. Powerful teaching, wisdom, miracles, etc. gave rise to expectations of the people for what they wanted from Jesus. Expectations for a King to conquer their earthly oppressors, the Romans. Expectations for a King to lead them by and to earthly power. And when the expectations of the people were not met, the same people following Christ turned him over to be crucified, to deny and abandon him.
Oh so much disappointment and pain follows misplaced expectations.
I could go on for quite a bit with the Biblical discussion, but my mission here is more to help business people than to preach a sermon, so take the leap with me over to some practical application.
The title for this post could be refined to ‘Misplaced’ expectations are the root of all disappointment.
The point is not that having expectations is a bad thing or that expectation always ends in disappointment, but rather that it is critical to be very careful with our expectations. Be discerning with where we place our expectations and base them upon a solid foundation.
Blog posts often come with the expectation of bullet points, so merging the Lenten sermon with our daily work life might look something like this:
- Pray upon everything as we develop expectations for anything. This statement stands on it’s own.
- Carefully consider God’s will/things eternal and put that consideration toward the setting of expectations in all areas of your life. Planning is a good and necessary thing for us as we navigate the trials and challenges of our work and everyday lives. We must integrate our spiritual lives with our planning lives to set right expectations.
- Our expectations of others must pass the same spiritual tests as expectations for ourselves. We should not expect anything of someone else that would not pass our own discernment of a spiritual standard.
- Business expectations are not in conflict with God’s will unless we neglect to include careful discernment of God’s will in our plans. Setting goals and objectives are a healthy and necessary part of guiding a business successfully and there is plenty of scripture encouraging healthy business. Build your goals and objectives on a foundation supported by Godly wisdom rather than worldly desire.
- We will not be disappointed when we place our expectations for the right things. Jesus followers described in John 12-19 had expectations for something God never intended and were dreadfully disappointed. Some of those expectations were so misplaced that they prevented the eternal blessing of the Holy Spirit through faith. We must place our expectations upon the right things.
So, whether it’s setting goals at work, waiting for the desired response from a friend or looking forward to the family vacation, pray fervently over the expectations and you will not be disappointed.