Pause for Thought

Great Expectations

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One of the side benefits of this Internet Age is that at holiday time it is super easy to send greetings and good wishes to those on the periphery of our acquaintance. The flip side of that coin is that we are reminded of people with whom we have otherwise had no interaction for a year. Many of their messages are short and sweet and totally predictable, but occasionally a gem appears which leads us onto unexpected paths of thought.

So it was for me as the year closed and another began. Someone sent me a cartoon drawing with two people in conversation.

What do you expect the year to bring?


What makes you expect that this year will bring flowers?

I am planting flowers!


I was immediately reminded of scripture,

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. ” [Galatians 6:7 NIV].

Growing up I always heard this scripture quoted in a cautionary context - “what goes around, comes around” and “God is watching you!” - but the “I am planting flowers” comment alerted me to the positive implications.

In today’s media environment it is all too easy to depressed by the gloom and doom which collects mouse clicks or cable news views, but as Jesus followers we can just shake all that off. Jesus said,

…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ” [John 16:33 NIV]

The really cool thing is that Jesus has given us His spirit to live within us, so we too have overcome the world! Notice I used past tense (“overcome”), rather than a present participle (“overcoming"). It is true that we are overcoming the world on a daily basis, but only because it is an already accomplished fact! The reality that the world is the way it is is because they do not (yet) acknowledge Jesus’ victory and the liberation that comes with it. But that day is coming! (c.f. Romans 14:11 and Isaiah 45:23). If we are not experiencing victory over the world, it is not because the world is winning, it is because we are not claiming the victory in the Spirit.

We would do well to shrug off the negativity of the news of pandemics, riots, terrorists, shortages and politics and concentrate on being salt and light in this world.

This is not a new thought. Listen to the admonition of Paul to the church in Philippi nearly two thousand years ago:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” [Philippians 4:8 NIV].

Let’s get planting some flowers! It’s time to join the christian horticultural society! It may not be time yet for them to bloom, but with careful watering and weeding the display will be spectacular!

Now that’s a great expectation!

Blessings on you and yours, Jim Black

Sunday January 16th, 2022