Many years ago when I began teaching chess to students, I started taking them to tournaments. They were becoming so upset about not winning that I decided to go to a tournament, play, and show them that they could have a good time without winning anything. I should note that I had a perfect record in that regard – having never won anything at a chess tournament. I started out 0-2. As I began the next round we joked about living in the 0-zone. But, then I won and by the time the tournament was over, I was tied for the championship in my class. It was quite a surprise.
He sat on the side of the road, hoping for a few coins to sustain him for another day. Giving alms was an important religious responsibility. Those who took alms just tried to get to the right place. He sat there on the road to the Temple every day, expecting those who knew him to support him. Most people just averted their eyes either because they weren’t going to give or because they had other people they supported. He saw those two as they walked and heard a strange command: Look at us. He looked into their eyes and they pulled him up saying that he should walk in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. How ridiculous! Why he couldn’t…wait, he could! “He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” (Acts 3:8)
The beggar had expectations from life. People would give because it was a religious duty and he would take. He probably had long given up hope of walking and being a part of productive society. Then, God surprised him and he was healed. Imagine the surprise of the people who knew him, who had seen him along the road on the way to the Temple! I can’t help but wonder how those who carried him to the Temple to beg every day must have reacted. God looked at his expectations of life and gave him so much more.
Most of us have a problem of low expectations. We just want to survive and get through life. We may know Jesus and have hope for eternal life and so we endure this life while we’re here. We may even talk to others about coming to Jesus, but we don’t expect much. Are we open to letting God surprise us? Are you ready for God to use you in ways you never imagined. If we are followers of Christ, we need to stop sitting on the side of the road waiting for others to support us, in a spiritual sense. We need to stand up and go walking and leaping and praising God as we experience the surprise of God’s presence in our lives. Take the joy of Jesus with you today and let God work through you.
Lord, how easy it is to get in a rut, doing the same old things day after day. I pray that I would be open to a hand that You would choose to use to lift me to my feet so I can walk and leap and praise You. I pray that I might be that hand to others.