Play the game, get the prize
Have you ever went to one of those pizza places that has arcades and other games you can play. The games are fun—sort of. But that’s not why you play anyways.
You play because of the hope that you’ll rack up on a bunch of points or tickets that you can then turn around and cash in for a prize.
If you can call it that.
This is where all the excitement begins to fizzle out. You just spent at least an hour and spent more money then you intended to. You walk up to the counter like you’re about to receive cash in the winning lottery ticket. But all you come away with is a couple of pencils and a bouncy ball.
What a letdown, right?
You could have bought all of this for a tenth of what you spent.
But, you already knew that. You’ve been in this same situation before. Yet, for whatever reason, you still manage to get your hopes up.
You raise your expectations only to watch them crash and burn once again.
Expectations versus reality
Isn’t this the story of our lives that keeps replaying?
We set our hopes high expecting something or someone to come to the rescue. Surely something in this world come can fill our hearts with joy.
But we only end up with some really cheap flimsy substitutes.
- Acknowledgments that sit and collect dust on a mantle.
- Pats on the back from people we don’t even really know.
- Big bank accounts full of stuff that can only buy us more of the stuff that doesn’t make us happy.
But there is hope.
In John chapter 8 there is a story of a woman that was caught cheating on her husband. According to the law in that day, the penalty for her actions was to die at the hands of a mob with rocks—she would be stoned to death.
I want to pause for a minute and think about the act of cheating.
Why does anyone cheat?
- You cheat on a test because of the hope that you will pass the test.
- You cheat at the game to get more points.
- You cheat at work so you can get a promotion without all the hard work.
- You cheat on your spouse because you want to find something in another relationship that you are not getting in the one you are currently in.
Everyone that cheats, cheats with the hope of gaining something. There is a desire for satisfaction and you will do whatever it takes to get it—no matter how wrong it is.
That is where this woman was. Trying to cheat her way to fulfillment, but it let her down. Instead, she finds herself in the worst possible scenario.
Hard truth and ridiculous grace
But it all changes when Jesus comes into the picture.
Jesus doesn’t condemn her and He doesn’t condone her.
Jesus loves her unconditionally, defends, and shows her grace in the midst of her accusers. But then He loves her enough to confront her sinful lifestyle with the truth and asks her not to keep doing these same harmful things anymore.
He’s the real deal. He’s what you’ve been looking and hoping for.
Jesus gave himself to rescue you (Galatians 1) and there is joy in His presence (Psalms 16:11).
And the best part it all comes at a great price—free.
That is, free to us. Because Jesus paid the price.
Go ahead, raise your expectations as high as you want. You won’t be disappointed.