Are you a complainer? Come on, ‘fess up.
Your dinner’s too cold, the weather’s too hot, my bed’s too hard, you hate it when the dogs bark, they have a better car than I do. On and on it goes.
I don’t like being around people like that; but then all of a sudden I realize I’m doing the exact same thing! Except when I do it, it’s not quite so bad – after all, I’m just constructively criticizing them.
Awhile back I read a devotional about a women’s conference in California which had been seriously overbooked. Because of this, literally hundreds of women ended up being seated in the basement of this convention center on hard narrow folding chairs. They were disgruntled, to say the least.
I’m sure I would have been right in there with them with my complaints.
However one of the speakers was Joni Eareckson Tada, who is no doubt one of my biggest heroes of the faith.
When Joni was just a teenager she had a diving accident which left her quadriplegic, and she is full-time in a wheelchair. She cannot take care of herself at all, having to rely on people to do even the most basic things for her on a day-to-day basis.
So it’s Joni’s turn to speak at this conference, and as she steers herself onto the stage, she says, “I hear some of you aren’t too happy with your chairs tonight. I certainly understand your feelings – I hate my chair!”
Now Joni did not say this in a condemning way, but with a warm smile.
There was a collective gasp as the women studied her frail, slim body strapped into her wheelchair.
All of a sudden the approximately 20,000 women in attendance at that conference gained a new perspective. And perspective really is everything, isn’t it?
I remember one time Gary and I were at a multi-church meeting for training on a big event that was coming up in our city. After the speakers were finished with their training there was a question and answer period.
There were a lots of questions from various people, but quite frankly I just thought a lot of the questions asked were kind of stupid. Why are they freaking out so much about all this? Why don’t they just trust God to be God and help them if they need it?
Well a “humble-pie moment” came afterwards when Gary and I were chatting with a few people from our church. Of course I mentioned to one of the gals that there seemed to be a lot of dumb questions.
She replied that I needed to remember that there were many different types of people – as well as religions – present during the meeting; and that everyone’s walk of faith can be very different from the other.
Well that basically bopped me between the eyeballs…
Titus 3:1-3 (NLT) says,
Remind the believers … they should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone, and must avoid quarreling. Instead they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish…
Who in the world do I think I am? As if I’m so much more spiritual than any of them! We all walk only by the grace of God. (1 Corinthians 15:8-10).
And what about Romans 12:3 (NIV):
“For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Speaking of strictly myself here (although many of you can relate, I’m sure), what I really need to do a lot more is what we’re told to do in Philippians 4:8, which is to keep my thoughts fixed on good things.
Be careful, my friends. Instead of complaining and whining about your everyday life, think about the wonderful blessings that God gives you each day. There are many – sometimes you just need to take your blinders off and do a reset.