Week of Monday, August 16 ­– Sunday, August 22
Expectations – Man as a Provider
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

—Galatians 1:10
Expectations. There are some expectations people place on us that we men are OK with—like the idea that we should be hardworking, protective leaders. We’re good with the expectation that we should love God and country. We don’t mind for people to expect us to be good husbands and fathers. But then there are other kinds of expectations people place on us that we tend to push back against—like expectations about how we should use our time. 
For example, when you participate in a local church, the expectation to serve in some way is usually part of the deal. Whether it’s serving on security, the men’s ministry team, as a chaperone for summer camp, or spending a good portion of time in the parking lot on Sunday mornings to help direct traffic and welcome people as they arrive, we often guard against letting people expect more of us than we are willing to give.
Granted, we shouldn’t do what other people want us to do just because they expect it. A lot of books have been written and sermons preached about saying “No” to things with that very reason in mind. But it’s also true that in the body of Christ, “No” isn’t always the problem. Some of us men need to learn how to say, “Yes!” 
See, serving Christ and serving His people is not a mutually exclusive deal. Remember when we read through Matthew’s Gospel, and we came to the teaching in chapter 25 on the Great Judgment that will be like Jesus as King separating sheep from goats (see v. 31-46)? What was the difference between those who got the “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (v. 34) and those who got the “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (v. 41)? The difference was that the “sheep” served God’s people, and Jesus said: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (v. 40). The “goats” did not serve God’s people and therefore did not serve Christ.
Here’s the point: By serving God’s people at your church, you are serving Christ. God has given you certain gifts, abilities, and resources. Whether or not those fit in with the way other people may expect you to invest them doesn’t change your responsibility to be a good steward of those gifts. God expects for you to use your time, talents, and treasure to provide for and meet needs in the church, which is the body of Christ.
Sure, there are other people who can serve, too. But that’s not our main concern. Neither are other people’s expectations of us. Instead, our primary concern must be God’s expectation of us. And He wants us to serve His church. We should willingly use the gifts God has given us because His expectation should be our greatest priority. But don’t go rushing into some service that you see others doing unless you feel God’s calling. Seek His direction through prayer and let Him give you His plan for your life of service. And be flexible enough to change when He gives you a new direction for the service He wants you to begin.
  • Paul’s desire to please God and not man was the very reason he did serve people. How might the motivation of serving God help you serve people better?
  • How can you begin or continue using your gifts to serve the people in your local church?
  • Thank God for the privilege of serving Him. Ask Him to give you a desire to please Him more than pleasing people and that your actions would show this desire.