Monday Morning Devotion-November 22, 2021
Gratitude not Grumbling
Do everything without complaining or grumbling. Philippians 2:3
With the Thanksgiving holiday ushering in a season of gratitude I found this appropriate message from a couple of years ago.
Are you a grumbler? No? I didn't think so. Well, we all grumble a little bit, some more than others. Nobody would want to admit to grumbling, but when things don't go like we want them to it is human nature to complain.
To grumble, according to the dictionary, is "to complain or protest about something in a bad-tempered but typically muted way." Grumble synonyms could include complain; moan; groan; whine; bleat; carp; protest. Listed as informal synonyms are Bellyache, beef, grouch, et.al. I think you get the picture. Grumbling is not well-received.
Grumbling usually occurs under a person's breath. It is not intended to be heard but is more like a way to blow off steam when something is irritating. If it then advances to the anger stage, then that's when it might be verbalized not just mumbled.
It's like the little boy who was riding in the car with his mom. They were going along smoothly when the boy decided to ask his mom something that he had been wondering about.
He said: "Mom why is it that the stupid fools are only driving the other cars when Dad is driving ours?"
That's one of the problems with grumbling. Little ears can hear and adopt bad habits from observing what we do and say.
Another problem is that grumblers just aren't a lot of fun to be around. They put a negative tone on things instead of a happy face.
If a person is prone to grumble, they may not do it out loud but internalizing it causes them to distort their thinking about certain things. And worst of all the Lord God is not big on grumbling:
James 5:9 Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold the judge is standing at the door.
John 6:41 So, the Jews grumbled about Him, because He said: 'I am the bread that came dow from heaven.
John 6:43 Jesus answered them; 'Do not grumble among yourselves."
In "Dear Jesus" Sarah Young points out a better way to go than to grumble about things. It's the way to get more satisfying results: "The best safeguard against falling prey to grumbling is thankfulness. When gratitude fills your heart and mind you will not be tempted to complain and grumble."
And here is something that makes a lot of sense. "If you are thankful and show gratitude you will have peace in your heart. The more grateful you are, the better able you are to receive His Peace. Conversely, the more peaceful you are, the easier it is to be grateful"
That's nice. It shows how gratitude can have such a positive effect on you. In this whirlwind of a life we lead, one in which we try to balance so many things and do so at a rapid pace, peace is one thing we crave. To just get somewhere that is quiet, with no more demands on your time is a welcome thought. We just want a little peace.
The fact is that each one of us has so much more to be thankful for than we have
to grumble and complain about.
Philippians 4:6-7. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
From showing our gratitude instead of grumbling about things, we receive peace and when we have peace in our hearts we have joy. And joy is a really good thing to feel.
John Ortberg in his book:" Living the God Life" says: "Joy is at the heart of God's plan for human beings. Joy is at the heart of God himself. We will never understand the significance of Joy in human life until we understand its importance to God. I suspect that most of us seriously underestimate God's capacity for joy." C. S. Lewis said: "Joy is the serious business of heaven."
`In a "Peanuts" cartoon, Lucy and Linus are looking out the window at a steady downpour of rain.
"Boy," said Lucy, "look at it rain. What if it floods the whole world?"
"It will never do that," Linus replies confidently. "In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that it would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow"
"You've taken a great load off my mind," says Lucy with a relieved smile.
"Sound theology," states Linus, "has a way of doing that."
John Calvin's sound theology related all of life, even the so-called trivial and commonplace happenings, to the providential care of the loving Sovereign of the universe. He states, "If you pay attention, you will easily perceive that ignorance of providence is the ultimate of all miseries; the highest blessedness lies in the knowledge of it." (https://bible.org/article/grateful-or-grumbling)
If we are paying attention, then we will know that instead of grumbling, showing gratitude is the best way to handle the ups-and-downs of our life. And the more gratitude we express, and less grumbling will cause the God in heaven to open up those showers of blessings to fall on us.
Prayer: Lord God, we are grateful for the multitude of blessings you shower down upon us. Instead of grumbling in life help us remember these and express our gratitude. Amen!