Hope and expectations are inextricably tied together. Expectations are a funny beast. When met, we are pleased. When exceeded we are delighted. When not met, we are down hearted. And when not met consistently, we simply give up in dispair.
The kicker is that another’s expectations and, say, my expectations over the same thing will always be different. For example I might expect to drop over and visit. They too may expect me to drop over and visit. But the’re thinking sometime within the next week. I might be thinking sometime in the next 12 months. As time passes the meeting of expectations moves from delighted, to pleased, to down hearted, to giving up in dispair. But this can be avoided.
I love how Jesus expects to do a miracle. He has 5,000 men to feed. And he sets up an expectation with anticipation.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take almost a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” John 6:5-7
Then some bread and fish is found and the expectation is stated:
“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”John 6:9
Jesus performs the miracle.
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 10,11
But so that they don’t miss it in its fullness and so that they will truly know what has happened Jesus gets them to inspect what has occurred.
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” John 6:12-14
From this I see that Jesus sets a pattern to handling expectations.
1. Set the expectation – how do we feed the 5,000.
2. Make the expectation clear – sit them down, let’s feed them.
3. Meet the expectation – distributed to the 5,000.
4. Exceed the expectation – go for the ‘delight factor’ – they ate as much as they wanted.
5. Inspect and measure what was done to ensure the expectation was fully met – 12 baskets left over.
Do you make your expectations known? Do you make them clear? Do you exceed the expectations to the delight of others?
Is there something right now that you are hoping for? What do you expect?