Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Day Without Expectations

Today, we ate lunch at a deli in Plano before making the trek home. The deli had allowed a very large group to reserve several tables and 3-4 families were forced to eat outside. We ended up with the only umbrella (I requested it since I saw it earlier) and it was pretty nice, but two of the other families weren't very happy and they let it be known. From the way they were dressed and the fact that one circled up to pray, it was obvious they had just come from church, so their complaints really stood out. Mind you, it wasn't the complaints that were awkward, it was the way they were made and the tone that was used--these were people who expected to be treated better than that and they spoke with condescension.

Perhaps a complaint was in order--it was unusual to reserve so many tables for such a small deli, but that's irrelevant to my point: what expectations cause problems for us as believers? What are we allowed to expect out of life?

I remember a staff prayer time back in August where Becky asked us to pray for her dental surgery and mentioned that she didn't have any expectations on the outcome of her procedure. That really struck me and I've been rolling it around in my head ever since. As an American, I expect to be treated a certain way. As a white man, I expect to be treated a certain way. As a working man, I expect to be treated a certain way. Those expectations are the source of much disappointment and anger in my life and I'm afraid that most of them are nestled down in some kind of pride and sin. Somewhere deep down, I think I deserve to be treated a certain way and I am angered when it doesn't happen. I wonder how much of it is just sin, straight out? As a believer, what expectations should I really have? Doesn't my Bible teach me that every good and perfect gift comes form the Father? Doesn't it teach me to be content? Doesn't it teach me to rejoice in hardship?

One thing it never teaches me is to expect things from people. It never teaches me to assume that I will be treated as special or noteworthy or even worthy. I think that realization is part of what makes the light of the gospel so bright--we shouldn't have expectations on life, it's been cursed. So, when God steps into the scene and offers to adopt me, it's a big deal. Really, what would it be like to live a day without expectations (ok, you need to expect bridges to hold you and stuff, but not expect others to meet your needs or standards)?


deersnake said...

Hhhmmm, sounds like entitlement. Maybe Jonah can teach us something about that next week.

Very well said. Mind if I cheat & steal some points?

deersnake said...

On another note, it's interesting that I saw this today - my real reason for coming out here was to grab a .jpg of your picture.

Now why would I want that?????

Matthew Pascal said...

I think that disappointment comes from unfulfilled expectations. I often times find myself expecting to be treated a certin way, or receive certain types of attention, and blah blah blah and when it doesn't happen I am disappointed. The thing is that most of the time the things I am expecting, I am expecting for the wrong reasons.

Hankinstien said...

First of all, I'm just as guilty of this as anybody, but it is interesting that you noticed this at a restaurant. Having put in my years of food industry service, I have seen some horrors. Ask someone whos waited tables what shift is always the worst for them: almost all of them will say sunday afternoon. Christians have a horrible reputation in the restaurant industry, because of how they act. I can't tell you how many times other waiters would come back to the kitchen muttering "%#@$ing Christians..."

It was always sad to me (because I noticed it too, as a waiter) that the groups of people who went out of their way to let you know they were christians 90% of the time also went out of their way to treat the waiters horribly, to act rudely, to complain loudly, and to tip very poorly regardless of the level of service.

I'm seeming to rant but I guess its really on my heart because of the years I spent trying to witness to one of my bosses, who absolutely refused to listen to christianity, soley because of the way he was treated by christians. To him, it was less about what he believed, and more about the fact that he wanted nothing at all to do with these people, because of how mean they were. All I could do was to try and treat him as well as I could and hope for the best. Its just sad to me that so few of us (including me) aren't "known by our love."