It’s been said that the ‘pastor is buried under thousands of unrealistic expectations.” Unfortunately far too many pastors and far too many servants of the Lord understand this truth in a very personal way. Many years ago a study was done where they asked members of various churches what they expected from their pastors. After the different expectations were added up, they concluded that it would take the average pastor over 130 hours a week to do it all. That left the pastor roughly 5 hours a day to eat, sleep, disciple his family, and any other thing he may want to do. Unrealistic expectations abound!

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Expectations are powerful feelings we have that certain things will turn out the way we want them too, exactly with no room for change. When our expectations are consistent and in unity with all those involved, there is peace, harmony, and joy. But when our expectations are unrealistic, frustrations, irritations, and discouragements abound. This often to leads to sinful responses to our unmet expectations.

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Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. John 6:60-66 (NKJV)

A true pastor, a sincere servant of the Lord cares for God’s people. His burden is to make them the best fed, best loved, and best cared for. As you come alongside of him to help in this caring, your expectations need to checked and rechecked often. Your pastor needs help in loving and caring for the sheep. He cannot do it by himself. Your pastor needs your help. That’s why God moved upon your heart to step up with your gifts and talents, serving God first, but alongside of your pastor and other leaders next.

Care for the flock of God entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example. 1 Peter 5:2-3 (NLT)

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Be careful and prayerful with the expectations you place upon your pastor and those you serve alongside of.  Be careful with the expectations you place upon yourself. If you don’t, great difficulties will be yours. The ministry of Jesus will be hindered, and many people will be unnecessarily hurt, including yourself. Just enjoy Jesus, abiding in Him, serving the Lord with joy and gladness as a support to your pastor, knowing together you’re reaching the lost and strengthening the saved. You’ll save yourself a hundred different discouragements too along the way! Pastor Chuck Smith has helped us understand the joy of flexibility as he has taught us, “Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken.” It’s true!

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John 6:66 is a such a sad verse as we watch many disciples of Jesus walk away from Him because of their unrealistic expectations not being met. Remember, Jesus is the only One who always did that which pleased the Father. We don’t want to join that discouraged group. Pray for God to adjust your expectations today.