A small circle of friends were gathered and one stepped into the circle and shared a duty that they were asked to do. Let’s just say she let us know how unhappy she was about it. It was awkward. All I could say was, “I’m sorry.” Someone else encouraged her to step up and speak out! I was thankful when I could excuse myself. The murmuring brought grief and a feeling of darkness. I became so very aware of how my own complaining discourages those around me and there was conviction in my heart. Yes, I’m guilty of complaining far too often.
The next morning I was listening to the audio version of Philippians 2. I came to love this chapter after I had memorized it some years ago. I was “testing myself” as I quoted along with the voice on my phone. Then I heard myself say the words,
Do all things without murmuring and disputing. (Verse 14)
The word all rang in my ears and my thoughts went to what that entails…
- All the laundry
- All the dishes
- All the cooking
- All the vacuuming
- All the kitchen clean up
- All the mopping
- All the hospitality
- All the deleting of unwanted emails
- All the driving
- All the waiting in long lines
- All the serving at church
- All the caring for people
- All the response to trials
- All the preparation for events
- All the filling in when others drop the ball
- All the pressing on when I’m dog-tired
It’s hard most times, isn’t it? It’s easier to just gripe and complain and fuss and fume over the things I don’t like over the demands put on me by others. But all my complaining doesn’t help at all.
It doesn’t help me accomplish the work.
It doesn’t help my heart.
It doesn’t help my testimony.
Listen to what the next verse says,
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,
among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
I’m to stop my complaining because it turns the light out on my testimony! Instead of being different, I’m just like the unsaved world around me! But when I choose to have a right attitude and do all things in the power of Christ and for His glory, I can shine brightly! It makes me different than the complainers around me. Let’s remember that Paul wrote those words from a prison cell! Can you imagine him complaining about his surroundings? Me either.
Paul goes on to say that we are holding forth the Word of life and we can rejoice that we have not run or labored in vain!
So the next time I feel overworked,
the next time someone asks me to serve at church again,
the next time I am standing in the longest line at the store
or have to wait to see the doctor,
or my plans completely get altered,
may all my words be praise instead of complaints!
When is it hardest for you not to complain? Let’s ask the Lord to strengthen and enable us to do all things with praise, and to convict us at those times when those murmurs come spilling out of our lips.
Let’s glorify God and refresh others by not complaining!