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I had arrived only a couple weeks before in the Czech Republic and was living with a retired Czech couple in a small village. Being the only American in the area I was somewhat a celebrity. One day a couple elders from a local church visited me to ask if I would preach in their church later that summer. I agreed.

And so the Sunday morning finally came and I met early with my translator to go over what I would say. When the time came I got up, preached and made sure I stayed within the 20 minutes they had given me. After I sat down there was a great stir and the pastor looked very flustered. I didn’t know what was going on, but he got up and began talking for another 20 minutes. We closed with a hymn.

The leaders were visibly disappointed in me and I didn’t know what I did or what I said. Finally, I found out that I was supposed to preach 20 minutes which didn’t count the translation – in other words a 40 minute sermon.

No, they didn’t try to throw me off a cliff like they did with Jesus in Nazareth but in some ways it reminds me of that story. What happens when expectations are not reality?

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