Wednesday, July 18Scripture Reading—Luke 7:31-35
Life often disappoints us because we have the wrong expectations. Couples often enter marriages with false expectations. He’ll mow the grass—she’ll do the cooking. Each will make the other indescribably happy! Or we start out on a vocational path that we think is a perfect match for our talents, desires, and abilities. We love it for awhile, but soon we see that no job is perfect. No work is without difficult days spent sometimes with difficult people. If you’ve lived very long at all, you know that things don’t always turn out as you’d hoped. John the Baptist and Jesus were very different. John proclaimed a stern message of repentance. Jesus brought good news to the poor. But they shared something in common. Both of them were rejected by their own people, people they loved dearly. It’s easy to attribute their rejection to arrogance. But at the heart of their struggle to win followers to their respective messages was the fact that neither of them fit into people’s expectations of how God operated in the world—or at least how they wanted God to operate in the world. They wanted deliverance from Roman occupation. John called people to prepare for a coming kingdom by turning from sin and turning to God. They wanted a powerful Messiah who would overthrow the Roman Empire. Jesus couldn’t even eat with the right people. He ate and drank with those despised agents of the Empire—tax collectors and various other sinners. The God offered by John and Jesus just didn’t match up to people’s expectations, so they missed out on discovering in new, life-giving ways God’s gracious love and mercy. How often do we miss out on God’s presence in our world and in our lives because we’re looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place?Thought for the day: We often miss out on encountering God’s presence and grace because we have the wrong expectations about how, where, when, and through whom God is to be discovered.
Prayer: O God, help me to be open and flexible in my thinking about you so that I might encounter your presence in unexpected ways, in unexpected places, and through unexpected people. Amen.