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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

What Do You Expect?

What expectations rule your life?

Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

  - Acts 21.13

I expect daily to be killed, betrayed, or brought back into slavery, or something of the kind. But, because of the promise of heaven, I fear none of these things. For I have thrown myself into the hands of Almighty God, who reigns everywhere...

  - Patrick, Confession, Irish, 5th century

We live each day toward our expectations, our hopes.

We organize our time, arrange our activities, and set our minds and hearts toward what we seek in life.

We choose our friends, spouses, work, and places to live on the basis of what we expect of these, what we hope they will bring to us in terms of goodness or happiness.

We avoid things that we expect might bring us into conflict, opposition, suffering, or pain, because we are conditioned to live our lives with a view to maximizing material comfort and personal pleasure.

But comfort and pleasure that take account only of the needs of the body will throw the soul under the bus to avoid painful expectations. We’ll never succeed in our Personal Mission Fields if all we expect in life are ease, comfort, and pleasure.

These days it’s not uncommon for Christians to believe that our faith in Jesus should not only not inconvenience us, but it should not be a source of upset or distress to others, either. And we live our faith accordingly, being careful not to disturb anyone with our “boasting” about the Lord (2 Cor. 10.13) or our insistence on following a different path from them (1 Pet. 4.1-4).

Neither Patrick nor Paul lived this way. And certainly neither did the Lord Jesus.

They knew the Gospel would stir up controversy. They knew it would make people angry and resistant, even to the point of causing difficulty and suffering for themselves. They knew that Jesus had told us to expect as much, and so they did!

What about us? Do we expect working our Personal Mission Field to be a source of great entertainment? The Bible says it’s like pulling a plow, boxing with an opponent, or going to war. Not much fun, those.

Don’t we know that Jesus told us to expect that the world would hate us like it hated Him? That the Gospel we live and proclaim will cause divisions and strife? That people will speak ill of us, persecute us, and do all manner of evil against us because of the Gospel?

No, we know all these things, don't we – we just don’t really expect them.

And since we don’t expect them, we live toward a comfortable, untroubling, all-pacifying, nonconfrontational gospel.

The only problem is, that’s not the Gospel of Patrick, Paul – or Jesus.

Psalm 124.1-3, 8 (Neumark: “If Thou but Suffer God to Guide Thee”)
If You had not been with us, Jesus – let all who love You say with pride –
When foes arose to fright and seize us, they would have swallowed us alive!
  Our help is in Your Name, O Lord,
  Who made creation by Your Word.

Lord, bring my expectations into line with Yours, and give me a true heart of faith!

Make up your mind

Jesus has sent us into the world for the purpose of making disciples “as you are going” (Jn. 20.21; Matt. 28.18-20). The “as you are going” of our lives is our Personal Mission Field – the places and people to whom we go each day, where our calling could not be more clear. We must make up our minds, each day, that we are going to work for the Kingdom and righteousness of God at all times, in every situation, striving to make the best use of our time for Christ and His glory. At The Fellowship of Ailbe seeking to build a community of people committed to the work of the Kingdom in this way. To that end we’ve prepared A Field Guide to Mission to help you in making up your mind each day to make disciple-making a way of life. For your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe in any amount, we’ll send you the booklets and worksheet in this kit. Use the donate button here or at the website, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Dr., Essex Junction, VT 05452.

The harvest is plentiful. Must the laborers be few?

T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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