Chapter Six, Page 85. . .Jesus began, “Tony, this is an invitation, not an expectation.”
This is huge. Here we go with a little more honest authenticity. . .I spent most of my life, sending out expectations, not invitations. Oh, it was printed on the outside as an invitation and I thought it was, until God started revealing my hidden expectations. I offered, I gifted, I served, I loved, I liked with “good intent” but I expected “something in return.” Oh, most of my expectations were hidden, even from myself. I could not understand, but I was so not satisfied with a birthday or a “ministry offering” or a homemade dinner or a party to honor someone or a gift. . .So often there was an empty echo in my heart where all I heard was, “I worked so hard” or “I gave with a pure heart” or “It meant so much to me” or “It was so rich with love” or “Why was it not received as intended?” or “What did I do wrong?” or “I feel so let down” or “I thought I was following God’s lead” or “I wanted His Best and I got the least?” or “I give up” or “The point is, what God?” or “Why am I doing this, tell me one more time God?” or “I’m just not going to do this anymore” . . .Thankfully, that has been years ago now, but I’m still on the journey. Still fighting the good fight, to take the “me” out of the equation.
It never was about anyone or anyone’s “response” but it was about me. It wasn’t a thank you I was looking . . .It was my Papa God’s affirmation. One day, God sat me down in a quiet time, in my car, on the way to a “ministry event” and He said. . .”Expectations are part of the human experience, but it is about where you place them. If you put your expectation on a person, it will feel “empty” but if you put your expectations on me, I will show up and make good on your investments. My Time, My Place, My Response. People, all people are limited in their humanity, but my response is always Kingdom workings. . .” Then He went on to say. . .
“Your place, is to extend an invitation. An invitation in offering: love, play, giftings, service, communion, study, growth, healing opportunities. Extend an open hand and then allow ME to fill it. Shift the expectations to ME. Extend invitations to those around you. And let the offering stand. . .”
And so I say to those of you, who are in my life. ..I’ve grown up some and I extend to you life. .. invitations with a wash in expectations. What I offer are just open handed invitations. . .It’s your choice and It’s God’s Fillings.
What freedom I’ve found in shifted expectations and open invitations. Freedom to love and risk for my Lord. Freedom to experience and enjoy others as who they are in Him. Freedom to wait and watch my Lord show up for the Kingdom. It’s my hope that you too will explore your own expectations and learn to extend open invitations. It calls forth Kingdom Play as we watch our Lord invest His Hand.
Father God, we come into your presence trusting Your Hands. May we feel safe in your arms to explore our hidden expectations that encumber our Kingdom Offerings. Teach us, by Your Hands on to extend open invitations. As I’ve prayed this post, I “heard” you say, Your body is My Temple. . .It’s meant to be an open house in My Name.” May we all learn, on your knee, just how to host an open house with a heart for our JESUS. IN YOUR NAME, Amen.
And so I open my book, Cross Roads again. Reading a book, is an open house the author is hosting. So, in chapter eight, I accept the invitation of Paul Young and attend another chapter in his open house, with the Trinity and Tony as his honored guests. Will you join me?