Grumbling or Gratitude

“25 was holding my player that’s why 14 got the open lay-up,” I grumbled as the referee ran past. I coach a team of third and fourth graders in the Upward program at my church. The referee was a 14-year-old volunteer, but that didn’t matter at the moment. My team was wronged!

In retrospect my grumbling wasn’t helpful. It certainly didn’t change the fact that none of the referees saw the foul. It didn’t erase the bucket the opposing team scored. I doubt the 14-year-old referee felt educated or encouraged. Referees are human, they miss even obvious fouls at times. It is part of the game.

Perhaps that is why God instructs us to:

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world… Philippians 2:14-15 ESV

Life isn’t perfect and when we grumble and complain we are really saying, “I don’t trust God in this situation.” Now don’t get me wrong there are things we have to endure in life that are difficult and telling God this is hard, I don’t like it, etc is ok. What isn’t ok is grumbling.

Like this:

But the people [Israelites] thirsted there for water, and the people grumbled against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?” Exodus 17:3 ESV

This is not the first time the Israelites have complained. This is the group of people whom God miraculously freed from slavery in Egypt, the people who crossed the Red Sea on dry land, who received Manna from God in the desert to feed them for months by this time.

Instead of reminding themselves of how God has already cared for them in the past and asking God to provide water, they complain. Sound familiar?

We wake up cranky and instead of thanking God for a new day we complain about our schedules, our level of fatigue, our jobs. When we get cut off on the way to work we grumble about crazy drivers instead of thanking God for a vehicle and gas money.

But God did miracles in the midst of the Israelites and they complained…If God did that in my life I would never grumble. Seriously? God lives inside those of us who have accepted Jesus’ gift of salvation to help us make wise choices and bring Him glory. What bigger miracle do we think we need to stop grumbling?

What if instead of grumbling and complaining we sought out things we could be thankful for? Is it possible that a life free or grumbling is full of gratitude? And a grateful life is one that brings God glory and honor?

Will you join me in seeking out things we can thank God for?

Father God I confess that too often I grumble and complain rather than give You thanks. Forgive me for forgetting Your grace and daily gifts. Give me eyes to see the gifts You have given me. Remind me of how You have worked in my life in the past that I may look forward to how You will work out difficulties I currently face. May Your Spirit fill my life so I can see to honor You in all I say and do. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.