Learning to jump, a group of young paratroopers were given the following instructions: first, jump when you are told; second, count to ten and pull the ripcord; third, in the unlikely event that your chute doesn’t open, pull the ripcord for your secondary chute; and fourth, when you get down, a truck will take you back to the base. The group boarded the plane, ascended to the proper height, and the men started peeling out as they were told. One particular paratrooper counted to ten and pulled his ripcord, but his chute failed to open. Thinking to himself, “just my luck,” he proceeded to reach for and pull the ripcord for his secondary chute. It failed to open. As he plummeted earthward, he complained to himself, “I bet there won’t even be a truck there when I get down.”
At times we are like that with God. We start out with great expectations, but as soon as something goes awry or not the way we expect, we begin to complain. We assume the worst to happen or abandon the effort altogether. If that had been the mindset of the patriarchs, there would have been no Israel to enter the Promised Land. If that had been the mindset of Paul, there would have been no mission churches and no advancement of the Kingdom.
It was William Carey that proclaimed, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” He could say that because he understood God’s sovereignty and authority, knowing that attempting to do what God has commanded would succeed and bring Him glory. It was that attitude and assurance that brought about modern missions as we know it today.
What is it that you want to accomplish in this New Year? What are your expectations? Will you abandon them at the first sight of trouble and adopt a grumbling spirit instead of a grateful one?
God has uniquely gifted every believer and called them to utilize those gifts to attempt great things for His Kingdom. Jim Elliot challenged his generation, “Wherever you are, be all there. Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.”
May we all accept that challenge and expect great things from God in this New Year!
To His Glory,