“Expect Great Things!” The phrase stared me in the face. Ironically, it was on a jewelry box from a local department store. “Expect great things!” I’ll admit, the response I had to the phrase was a little jaded. My mind ran back to the few times I’ve gone to that store to look for something I needed, or just the right gift for someone special. I couldn’t help remembering the time I paid a pretty hefty price for a piece of clothing only to have it unravel in its first washing. Frankly, I don’t “expect great things” from a department store. In truth, a department store doesn’t have anything that comes close to my idea of “great.”
All afternoon I pondered the phrase, “expect great things!” Do I expect great things of anyone or anything? Am I too jaded to think that anything could ever meet my expectations? Where do my heart and mind intersect when I consider the word “great?” Have I learned to be indifferent to high expectations believing that I will only be disappointed?
Musing in my mind about the reality that a small jewelry box with three words on it had me doing so much thinking, I decided to search out some answers. Immediately, I realized that I do indeed have expectations—especially of myself. Some would say that my expectations of myself are high, really high. I’m not sure that’s what I would call “great.” Perhaps it’s what I would call excellence. I do have expectations of others. I look for things in people. Things like integrity and honesty, good work ethic, the promise of their word. I also look for qualities like assertiveness, teamwork, humor, creativity.
I realized too, that I have expectations of things. I expect my computer to work, the chair I sit in to hold me, my cup to hold my coffee. Those expectations are based on what those things are made to do. However, those expectations are not “great.” They are simply the use for which the product was designed. Perhaps that’s why the phrase, “expect great things” on a jewelry box from a local department store threw me. I don’t think I will put my expectation in a store or a product to produce great things.
But there is one scenario that comes to mind when I am confronted with the phrase, “expect great things.” There is one entity where greatness is the norm. When I spend just a moment in the presence of this entity, my eyes look up, my heart is immediately enlarged and my hope is renewed. God, the Almighty, the maker of Heaven and Earth is “GREAT” and greatly to be praised! All of my hope, my expectation and my trust is in Him. His name bears the tagline, “Expect Great Things!”
Yet, wait! I do expect great things from God. But something is different. I look to the source of greatness, not the product He produces. He doesn’t work on my definition of greatness. He works on His own. His thoughts are high above mine. He alone knows the true meaning of great and how His greatness will be displayed. Here’s the beauty! I never have to be in charge of His greatness. I never have to be disappointed when my “great” is not the outcome. I expect great things from a God who not only guarantees great things in his character, but he asks me to live in expectancy that he will, in his ultimate goodness, do great things on behalf of all his children.
Expect Great Things from the source who always provides them. When our eyes are on Him, knowing that He is great and He is good, that His promises toward His children are full of His everlasting love, we will never be disappointed. Yes, live in expectancy of the greatness of our God, His abundance of grace, love mercy and joy. From Him alone, I expect great things!
Shelley Lopez, Executive Director
Shelley has been a member of the Springfield community for 29 years. As she lives and works and worships in the city, she uses the metaphor of an old Victorian house restoration to keep her focused on the work she is called to do. Inspired by the words of the prophet Isaiah, she pours herself into "restoring old ruins, rebuilding and renovating, making the community livable again" (Is. 58:12 MSG)