It’s summer in Cape Town, and there’s been plenty of cricket to watch recently as England have been touring South Africa (sorry if you don’t like cricket… but please stick with it).
As I’ve been watching, I’ve been fascinated by the slip fielders. They stand there, positioned, as ball after ball is bowled. 99% of the time, they get prepared, but then the ball goes nowhere near them. However, each time the bowler starts his run up, they crouch and prepare again. They are expectant… because they know, at any moment, the ball might fly off the bat and hurtle towards them at 150km/h! And in that split second they can either be the hero that takes the catch, or the buffoon that spills the ball to the ground.
Expectant… living with the anticipation that something good is going to happen. The key to the success of the slip fielders is that they need to have the right attitude and adopt the right posture. Maintaining a vigilant and positive attitude will keep them alert and ready for the opportunity. Having the right posture means they are positioned for success when they are called to spring into action.
Each year at The Message Trust, I present a theme to help shape our approach to the year ahead. Our word for 2020 is expectant.
In a world where there is so much negativity, pessimism and disappointment, we believe God is calling us to be expectant that good things will happen. We have genuine hope that young people in tough communities can rise above their circumstances and fulfil their potential. We have faith that those in prison can encounter Jesus in such a way that their lives make a U-turn and they go from being the problem to the solution. We are trusting for a culture-shifting movement that will mean young people make positive choices rather than succumbing to the negative narrative of addiction, gangsterism and crime.
We are expectant because of the attitude and posture that we’ve adopted.
Our attitude is informed by two things. Firstly, because we fully believe that God loves each person we work with and has a redemptive plan for everyone. Secondly, due to the stories of transformation that we have experienced over the past few years. Whenever we feel discouraged or pessimistic, we can recall many stories of God bringing breakthrough when everything seemed beyond hope. We celebrate these stories at our team meetings, at Gangstar Café, through videos we produce, and every year at our Message Night (this year taking place on 27th February… free tickets available here).
Maintaining a posture of expectancy requires discipline. As with the cricketers who need to be well positioned and keep their eye on the ball, so we seek to position ourselves in a posture of expectancy. We position ourselves through our routine of prayer and vision casting. Our prayer rhythm includes daily short prayer meetings, weekly devotions and a monthly day where we ‘down-tools’ and spend time seeking God and encouraging one another with stories of what He is doing. This enables us to keep our eye on the ball and helps us ‘keep the faith’ that God is at work and that He is indeed ‘doing a new thing’ (Isaiah 43:19).
If you have begun to feel despondent or pessimistic about the future, then perhaps your faith levels could be recharged through adopting an attitude and posture of expectancy in 2020.
PS. I recently shared at our February prayer day on the same topic. We have made the recording of this available. Listen to it here:
Written by: Dr. Tim Tucker, The Message Trust SA CEO