Expect and Attempt

$40,000 a yearThis may sound like a “puff” news story, but it did make the front page of a large and popular newspaper in Canada, The Toronto Star, 14 June 2016. No, it was not about politics, sports, entertainment, and not even the presidential election in the US. It was the real story of a young, unknown man – his expectations and industrious attempts towards a successful life! It caught my full attention.

Here is the article: “Anthony Molinaro has a problem (a good kind), most people of his age would envy. At 20, he is a full time student at the University of Guelph, Ontario, as well as working a full time late shift job driving a forklift. The problem? What to do with his earning of $40,000 (in regard to investment, university costs etc, I suppose). Read the full article here.

“At a time when young people find it hard to pay for their education and find work, Anthony is a good example of how both can be done. It is hard going for sure, but the effort is paying off handsomely” giving him an exemplary head start in life. My curiosity was sparked by the following:  

Question by the journalist: “Where does all this drive comes from?”

Answer from Anthony:” from my parents who taught good habits.”

By the way, did you connect this post’s title to the famous “Cobbler-turned-Missionary to India, William Carey (1761-1834)? The full quote is “Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”.

This is my assertion. I believe this saying from Carey, normally used for spiritual or missionary challenges, has a much deeper force. It is not only a Christian thing to do, but a universal principle that works and is worthy to emulate. It is just like the law of nature (sowing and reaping as in Jesus’ parables). Come to think of it, every good work or achievement in life starts with these two components: expect and attempt!

In a way, the saying is older than Carey – maybe even older than King Solomon (850 BC ?) who compiled the book of Proverbs in the Bible. He wrote: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will never depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). An old Hebrew translation is “initiate a child” instead of “train up”. Allow me to illustrate with three short case histories:

First, from the Bible – Hannah, the devout wife of Elkanah, prayed for a child for a very long time. When she finally gave birth to a son, she took the boy at the earliest opportunity, fulfilling her promise to God, to her old Priest to work and learn as an “apprentice” in the temple. Ely, the portly old priest, had his own challenges with his unruly sons to deal with. Elkanah and Hannah must have known Ely’s struggles. Yet they took a leap of faith.  

And oh, what a beautiful picture of an old master, a little child and a mighty God. (Mr. Rembrandt, why didn’t you paint this scene and name it “the apprentice?”) Please take time to read for yourselves 1 Samuel 3:3-21. I am so inspired that I intend to write a blog post on Hannah at a later date. In praise of Ely, he tenderly “initiated” Samuel how to respond to the gentle call of God. That changed, would you believe, the entire history of Israel! Samuel not only replaced Ely, but became the most powerful Judge – loved, respected, even feared by the kings. Expectation and Attempts put to action by ordinary people but BLESSED by a mighty God!

Second, from Hannah of the OT, I am fast forwarding to modern-day billionaire philanthropists, Bill and Melinda Gates. I recently read with interest an article on Bill Gates on “Why would I raise chicken”? Their attempt is to relieve poverty in Sub-Saharan countries by raising chickens. Here is their logic (article originally published in gatesnotes.com). What a noble Missionary enterprise:

  1. A chicken is easy and inexpensive to raise and take care of
  2. They are a good investment
  3. They help keep children healthy and finally
  4. They empower women.

react kenyaThird, now from billionaires to a local homegrown young couple from Barrie, Ontario – Mike and Manon Christensen. They make their living in home construction and teaching, but also created “ReACT” – which is a mission “to empower orphans and vulnerable children through Jesus centered, cost effective and culturally centered relevant homes”. You can visit their website at www.reactkenya.com.

These are just few examples of people who expected and attempted. I’m sure we all have had experiences in our own lives or that of our family’s where we initiated steps to expect and attempt a great outcome .  

Didn’t Jesus himself start as an apprentice under Joseph with “the great expectations”? Didn’t he patiently work as a labourer “till the hour has fully come”? Finally, didn’t he triumphantly cry out “it is finished”? Hallelujah!

God bless, Danny Paul


Please overlook my lengthy Post Scripts:  

Anthony Molinaro reminded me of my earlier post titled “A Letter to my Grandchildren”, 18 April 2015. You may wish to read it from my Blog Archive

On a personal note, I had the privilege of returning to India on a visit with my family.  In Calcutta, we saw the Carey Baptist Church, where his quotation – Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God”was painted in front of the church in very large letters. By the way, the pulpit used by Carey is still there. Carey was so respected that the Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in his honour on 9 January 1993.


4 Replies to “Expect and Attempt”

  1. Wish more people would understand this concept. It would go a long way in getting people out of poverty. As a Christian, we have even more responsibility to help the poor become more self sufficient and well as sharing with them the Good News- the doctrines of the Christian faith. We have the extra support of the Holy Spirit.

    1. Thank you Ann for pointing out an important element in “ministry”. I wonder if the pendulum keeps swinging with precision between (a)too much spiritual for no earthly use and (b) too much social gospel with very little spiritual content. Oh for the sweet “golden means”; “In search of moderation” ! Danny

  2. Danny, thank you for the encouraging word as always. Your insights and life example is an inspiration to so many of us!

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