Monday, June 12, 2006
No Grumbling or Complaining!
Our pastor is taking us through the book of Philippians over the summer. This book, written by Paul while he was in prison, is considered the book of "Joy". I spent enough years growing up in a little Southern Baptist church to learn John 3:16 early on. I've never questioned whether I'd make it to heaven on my own. John 3:16 has always been an easy learner for me.

While there are certainly plenty of verses that trip me up, we hit one of my hardest yesterday. Philippians 2:14 says: "Do all things without grumbling or complaining (disputing)(arguing)..". The Message puts it even better "readily and cheerfully - no bickering, no second guessing allowed!" My immediate reaction to this - arguing. I come up with reasons why I have the right to complain about whatever happens to be irritating, inconveniencing me right now. "God, you'd complain too if ....."

Paul wrote Philippians while in prison. Chained to guards 24/7. And he wasn't complaining. It made me think about the things that typically cause me to complain, dispute, argue, grumble. Here's my list of real trials - Sitting in my air conditioned car, satellite radio playing, diet coke nearby, with gas I could afford and waiting on someone who has the audacity to go a bit slower than I'd like to go. Or maybe a line too long at the grocery store where I can buy anything my heart desires for supper tonight. I'll likely throw out part of it when I've cooked too much. Being too hot. Being too cold. Being too busy when it's mostly self-inflicted, or due to my lack of discipline. Tolerating habits in friends that are seen at least as often in my own life. Caring for all the stuff in my home when I made the decision to purchase it and drag it here. When I didn't need it. I continually trip up over reaching someone in customer service who speaks English as their second language, but not their native one. Waiting in line for over 5 minutes to buy fast food and the audacity of having someone mess up 'no mayo or onion'.

When I take a hard look, there's been little in my life worthy of complaint. I've always found it comforting knowing nothing happened to Job that God didn't allow. Whatever touched him passed through God's hand first. Sovereign circumstances if you will. When Job, who by my estimate had plenty to complain over, had a little something to say to God, He came back at him. Reading Job 38:1 "The Lord answered Job out of the storm. I can just hear his booming voice... He said: "Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? ...Who shut up the sea.....Have you ever given orders to the morning or shown the dawn its place?....Have you entered the storehouses of the snow? Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?" Job 38 - 41 is a truly awesome snapshot of who God is and who I am not.

Job's response, in chapter 42 - "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know...My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." verse 12 says "the Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first."

Back at the book of Joy, Philippians 2:15 tells me why there's no whining allowed: "go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air...provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the life-giving Message into the night. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing."

Thank you Paul, Pastor Moore, Job and God for the reminder I sorely needed. I have no idea when mountain goats give birth. I'll be keeping my mouth shut, thank you very much.

  posted at 8:17 AM

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