Great Expectations

Difficult choices of a businessman

Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations is a classic. The novel tells the story of the orphan Pip and how he goes from being a poor child to being given wealth. The source of this wealth is never told him so he is left to wonder who might have given him this money. We, as the readers, are left in the beginning to wonder as well. We are introduced to a crazy wealthy older lady in the early part of the novel so the assumption or expectation is that she is the source; however, we find out that the prisoner Pip came into connect with early in the novel was the source.

There are expectations on all people. If you are a father, you are expected to love and care for your children. If you are a husband, the expectation is that you love and protect your wife. An employee has the expectation of being paid for your work, and a boss has the expectation that their employees will earn the pay they receive. Everyone has expectations.

When I counsel a couple wanting to be married, I encourage them to make a wish list. I call it the Expectation List. It’s actually a list of assumptions. A woman will expect that their future husband will be or do certain things and not do certain things. A man has a similar list of his future wife. These expectations or needs go unmet because most of the time they are not shared. For an example, the future wife assumes her future husband will pay the bills because her father had that job in her family; however, the future husband has no idea of this and in his family his mom paid the bills so he is expecting his future wife will do this task. The future wife’s expectation goes unmet because the communication is lacking and so does the future husband’s. When this happens a fight is the result. I think when the list is made and shared way before the marriage starts, each member of the future marriage team knows what the expectations of each other. Before the marriage is when to hash these roles out so nothing is lacking.

A job description for a pastor is basically a list of expectations a church has what their pastor should be and do. Because of my Spiritual gift of Administration/Leadership, I feel a job description is a must. Saying that, I also feel a pastor should share an expectation list with the church they are leading. What I think happens more time than it should, a member gets their feelings hurt because they have an expectation that a pastor will visit them if they have a hangnail but the pastor has an expectation that a deacon can and should make that visit. On the flip-side, a pastor can get frustrated because he has an expectation that the members will follow the Biblical teaching of tithing but only a small percentage actually do the practice. A pastor can and should share what the Bible has to say about how God’s people should act and what they do. I call this Biblical Expectations.

I think in any relationship, when expectations are shared and known helps it function like it should. Knowing what each person in a marriage thinks about certain things will help each person have a good or better understanding of the other. Having a job description in place at any job, helps all parties involved. When a church shares their expectations with their pastor and a pastor sharing his with the people, it helps prevents any assumptions and hurting of feelings. God has shared His expectations to man-kind; these expectations are found in the Bible.


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