The Mumble and Grumble of Whinersville

grouchI had to get my atlas out last night to make sure I wasn’t lost.  It seemed like whether I was listening to my radio, watching TV, or reading the newspaper, people were whining:  “I deserve this,” or “I didn’t deserve that!”  I thought I had been mysteriously transported to Whinersville.

Whining, mumbling, and grumbling is a worldwide problem of epidemic proportions.  Europe, South America, Asia, Canada, and the good old USA are afflicted with this debilitating attitude.

This must be a centuries old problem because both Peter and Paul said  people should be careful about the expression of their attitude:

  • Peter said we should, “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling (I Peter 4:9).”
  • Paul said to, “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation (Philippians 2:14-15).”

Before you complain to God, and say:  “This is something I don’t deserve.” Think about it.  Do you really want Him to serve you a plateful of what you deserve? When God fills my plate, I’m like a child:  I want a tiny portion of the Brussel sprouts of His judgment and heaping-helpings of His mercy-filled dips of mashed taters and cream gravy.  I never want what I deserve—the wilting heat of His anger.  I’d much rather bask in the Son-shine of His forgiveness.

Like David, we can find comfort in the loving nature of God and shout: “Lord, You are good and ready to forgive; and, Your abundant loyal love flows generously over all who cry out to You . . . guide me along Your path, so that I will live in Your truth (Psalm 86:10-11).”  Even whiners grow mute and their grumbles are silenced when they turn their thoughts to God’s “abundant loyal love.”

Fickle or Faithful?

Mario+Cantone+Monty+Hall+Mario+Cantone+Hosts+dpcp3vqC2VFlFrom 1963 to 1977, Let’s Make A Deal was one of the favorite shows on television.  It was hosted by Monty Hall who would offer a deal to contestants.  The contestant would either accept the deal or choose between doors #1, #2, or #3.

Throughout each day of your life, you make several choices.  Some of these are minor, and others can be life-changing.  The power and potential of choices have been the subject of many people, including:

  • Michel J. Fox: I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson’s. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there’s freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise found myself in.
  • Buddy Hackett: As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
  • Harvey Mackay: When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.

When you read John’s third epistle, you see the names of 3 men listed.  If you had to make the choice to pattern your life after one of these men, which would it be? Which door would you choose:

  • Door #1: Gaius
  • Door #2: Diotrephes
  • Door #3: Demetrius

Door #1 is a wise choice because Gaius was commended by John for his spiritual maturity.  Gaius tried to walk in the footsteps of John, and he had most likely read the words of Paul: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).”

Door #2 is a different story.  John described Diotrephes as a person “who loves to be first, and will have nothing to do with us.” Diotrephes has been described as a man who loved being the center of attention and one who wanted to control the decisions

Paul addressed this same issue when he wrote to the church at Rome:  “Because of the grace allotted to me, I can respectfully tell you not to think of yourselves as being more important than you are; devote your minds to sound judgment since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:13).”

Door #4 is also a great choice.  John thought highly of Demetrius, and he said that, “Demetrius has a good reputation with everyone we know. The truth stands on his side, and we add our unreserved recommendation to the long list of accounts on his behalf. You can rest assured that we are telling the truth.”

Through which door will you walk?  It might determine whether you live a life that is fickle or faithful.  As you think about this question, give some thought to these words from Romans 16:

I am pleading with all of you, brothers and sisters, to keep up your guard against anyone who is causing conflicts and enticing others with teachings contrary to what you have already learned. If there are people like that in your churches, stay away from them.  These kinds of people are not truly serving our Lord; they have devoted their lives to satisfying their own appetites. With smooth talking and a well-rehearsed blessing, they lead a lot of unsuspecting people down the wrong path.  The stories about the way you are living in obedience to God have traveled to all the churches. So celebrate your faithfulness to God that is being displayed in your lives—seek wisdom about the good life, and remain innocent when it comes to evil

Fickle or faithful: What is being displayed in your life?