“Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”― William Carey
“I find my life is a lot easier the lower I keep my expectations.” ― Bill Watterson
I’m not sure about you, but I deeply resonate with both of these quotes! Sometimes which one I resonate more with may simply relate to how many coffees I’ve had!
Reflecting on these quotes has reminded me of Greg Liston’s recent article in the Baptist Magazine entitled “Live your best ordinary life.” I’m not sure if I fully agree that God expects just our normal, everyday life. Many of our faith heroes are celebrated because they went beyond a normal, everyday life. Just last night I was reading about William Wilberforce for example. But, I love how Greg describes God working at walking speed. The extraordinary (expecting great things from God and attempting great things for God) does so often happen at walking pace, and day to day it looks quite ordinary. Perhaps what we mean by “a normal, everyday life” is a long way from what God intended – it certainly isn’t a life led with low expectations!
I was told early on in my time on the field that day to day it will feel like I wasn’t achieving anything, but in a few years, if I was to pause and look back, I’d suddenly realise just how much God had done. It was true. In a time when three years seems like an age this is one of the reasons why I am so committed to the idea of long-term career missions. My experience in my own short 13 years on the field has confirmed that it is precisely because God does so often move at walking pace that we need to be willing to stick it out for years, sometimes decades. Of course, the Spirit does move in dramatic ways, and at times we can barely keep up as we sprint after him in exhilaration. Even then, so often, those sprints happen precisely because we were willing to slow down enough to walk at God’s pace.
Perhaps, if we truly desire to attempt great things for God, we must start by embracing the simplicity Greg writes about.