Thursday, May 19, 2011


A pastor friend of mine tells me of a man in his church he calls Hank. Hank had attended church since he was a young boy, and now was in his sixties. He was known by everyone- but no one really liked him. He had difficulty loving his wife. His children could not speak freely with him and felt no affection from him. He was not concerned about the poor, had no tolerance for those outside the church, and tended to judge harshly those who were inside.

One day one of the Elders asked him, “Hank, are you happy?” Without smiling or showing any emotions, he responded, “Yes.”
“Well then,” the person replied, “tell your face.”
Hank’s outward demeanor mirrored a deeper and much more tragic reality: Hank was not changing. He was not being transformed. He was not growing in his faith, his relationships or his Christlikeness. But here’s is what is most remarkable: nobody in the church was surprised by this. No one called an emergency meeting of the church board to consider this person who wasn’t changing. No one really expected Hank to change, so no one was surprised when he didn’t. There were no expectations in the church. People did expect Hank to attend services, give money, and do the work of the church. But no one expected that day to day, month to month, decade to decade, Hank would be transformed and grow more and more in the likeness of Christ. People did not expect that he would become progressively more loving, joyful, and winsome person. So they were not shocked when it did not happen. Maybe it’s now time to raise our own expectations of what we want out of our life, the life of others, and our church.
Peace & Joy,

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