What Were You Expecting?
by Scott Savage, Crosswalk.com Contributor
"When Jesus heard this, he said to him, 'One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich." - Luke 18:22-23
Every Jesus follower has the same experience at one point or another.
We recognize that the way Jesus is leading us is not the direction we wanted or intended to go. Whatever our expectation involved, we are shocked to find out Jesus has other plans.
And we are not alone. In Matthew 16, Peter heard the words "Get behind me, Satan" when he told Jesus not to go to Jerusalem and be crucified. In Luke 18, a wealthy, powerful young man turned away from Jesus when he was invited to go up the one thing he could not abandon.
At the heart of our expectation is often a desire for more. It could be more fulfillment, more meaning, or even more connection.
Comedian and actor Russell Brand would say "more" is a longing for God. In an interview with Relevant Magazine in 2017, Brand said,
“There’s a famous quote: ‘Every man who knocks on a brothel door, he’s looking for God.’ Crack houses and these dens of suffering and illicit activity, they’re all people trying to feel good, trying to feel connected. People are trying to escape. People are trying to get out of their own heads. To me, this is a spiritual impetus.”
I can relate to Brand's words. Not because I've knocked on a brothel door, but because I've longed for more. I knew I was meant for more than the role I held at a church about two years ago. And as I sought what "more" looked like beyond that, my wife and I both became convinced we were supposed to make a move.
But the move involved a major adjustment for me. It meant leaving a city of 4 million for a town of 40,000. This transition has not been easy, but we knew this was our next step of obedience.
What if “more” means a next step we weren’t expecting? Like the young man in Luke 18, we might be disappointed. Or like Peter in Matthew 16, we might be frustrated. But once our next step is clear, we have a choice to make.
It might be time to ask - are we following Jesus or are we asking Jesus to follow us?
In Luke 9:23, we read, "Then Jesus told them what they could expect for themselves: 'Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.'"
Spend some time in prayer today, surrendering your expectations at the feet of Jesus.
Intersecting Faith and Life: Is there a step Jesus has revealed in front of you, which you were not expecting? What would it take you for you to move forward in faith?
Gideon and The Army That Was Too Big - Judges 7
The People of Israel Enter the Jordan River at Flood Stage - Joshua 3
Scott Savage is a pastor, writer, and Hope Dealer. He is married to Danalyn, an attorney, and they live with their three little Savages near Prescott, Arizona. Scott is a frequent contributor for RELEVANTMagazine.com and the author of The Hope Manifesto.
The Characters of Christmas is a podcast created to help you take a fresh look at the Christmas story by getting to know the minor characters that played a part in Jesus’ birth. It is the companion to Dan Darling's book "The Characters of Christmas: The Unlikely People Caught Up in the Story of Jesus."