Great Expectations, Part 2

Over the last several months, a lot of sports media attention has circulated around Lonzo Ball -- a 19-year-old who, after playing one year of basketball for UCLA, has made himself eligible for the NBA draft this summer.  In fact, the most interesting part of the story (and to many the most irritating) is the very vocal role that Lonzo's father LaVar has played in generating a sense of buzz and anticipation about Lonzo's athletic potential.  Without going into much more detail, let's just say that LaVar is a prime example of someone who has great expectations and is more than eager to verbalize those expectations in hopes of somehow speaking them into existence.

Expectations are very powerful.  They can inflate prospects of the future and inspire inconceivable action.  Or, if wielded toward the negative, they can deflate hopes and destroy motivation to move even an inch.  In last week's post, we began to reflect on the role expectations play in the ministry God has entrusted to us, whether individually or as a church.  In today's post, I want to start exploring some promises of God's Word that have been impacting my expectations lately.

EXPECT TO EXPAND

Enlarge the place of your tent,
And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings;
Do not spare;
Lengthen your cords,
And strengthen your stakes.
For you shall expand to the right and to the left,
And your descendants will inherit the nations,
And make the desolate cities inhabited.  Isaiah 54:2-3, NKJV

Originally proclaimed to a people anticipating God's judgment and foreign captivity, this prophecy gave Israel the hope that one day their well-deserved desolation would be reversed to unprecedented expansion.  It assured them that a faithful people could expect their barrenness to be restored to an abundance that their former boundaries wouldn't be able to hold.

As God desired to expand Israel's physical presence, could it be that God desires to expand our spiritual influence?

God wants us to be not just in the business of inheriting nations but of eternally impacting lives.  Maybe we've felt ineffective and barren in regards to personal influence, but I hear in this prophecy a promise from God that the efforts we invest in today will yield a productivity that requires expanded efforts down the road.  The question is, are we expecting that as much as God is promising that?  Or are we going about ministry initiatives and outreach efforts in such a way that we put a low lid on our capacity to serve?  Why not keep extra seats on hand for a small group, order a few more study guides for distribution, or prepare extra food for a fellowship meal?  Whatever the ministry "tent" you're setting up to serve those around you, go ahead.  Lengthen your cords, and don't hold back.