Weekly Devotional 12-26-22 / Hopes, Expectations, and Realizations
Next Sunday will begin a new year, and as each year does, it will start for many with great hopes and expectations. Some will hope for a better year financially, some will hope for improvement in their health, some will hope for restored relationships with family members or friends, and on a broader scale, many will hope for a better world. Each of these hopes are good and should be the hope of every person living, but what of expectations? Will expectations match one’s hope and become one’s realization?
Certainly, the hope of some will be realized and will match their expectations and they will be happy in those realizations, but what of others? The hopes and expectations of many will not be realized, this is a fact of life. But, of the two types of people, who will be better served, the ones whose hopes and expectations are realized, or the ones whose expectations and hopes will not all realized? I believe the answer to this question is found in the story of the rich man and Lazarus found in the Gospel of Luke 16:19-31: “19 There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ 27 Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “
The rich man, some time in his past hoped and expected that he would have riches and position. He realized both, but at what cost. He had a hardness and arrogance of heart toward both God and Lazarus. He received his reward, eternal separation from God. Lazarus, on the other hand, had no hope or expectation of anything better than his lowly experience of life. But he was rewarded with eternity in the presence of God.
So, as we begin the year of 2023 let us Christians hope for and expect good things but not be fixated on them. Let us live our lives being thankful for what has been allotted us but let us not lose sight of eternity and what that portends.
stevelampman.com / Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man