Thursday, April 07, 2011
Today’s Topic: Complaining
Today’s Text: Isaiah 40:27-29 Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
It doesn’t pay. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t do any good. It’s nothing more than venting or letting off steam. It has no value other than to create a false sense of accomplishment. It strokes our pride to think that our ideas for resolution just might work, yet nothing ever moves beyond the verbal exercise stage. Complaining is meaningless and worthless.
I know far too many complainers. I know that I am one of them. I observe some in the church whom I actually believe would like to re-define complaining as a spiritual gift. It would be included in the modern day list of gifts right along with gossip and apathy.
I fought the urge to complain this morning when I drove past the first gas station I saw. Gas prices have risen twenty cents per gallon in the last two weeks. Political candidates are declaring as one did this morning that the only reason he would be interested in fighting a war in Libya is if it would guarantee that we got the oil. When I put the two of those things together in my mind it came out as praise not complaining. I prayed and gave thanks to the Lord for two things: first, that the price of oil has nothing to do with the promises of God that He will care for me; and second, that prophecy is coming true right before our eyes as we walk into these last days before the return of Jesus.
For years I have had a policy as a Pastor: if you have a complaint or suggestion, I would be glad to listen to it on one condition – that you have thought through it well enough to offer a solution and you express a desire to be involved in implementing the solution. Otherwise all you are doing is complaining. That policy has worked very well, except in one church where they thought I was unapproachable because they seemed to like their complaining.
The worst part about complaining is that it shows the real object of our faith and the true trust level of our heart. That’s a very thought-provoking statement if you will take the time to think about it. The attitudes we present in public indicate what we really believe.
Christians who complain do great damage to the efforts of faithful followers of Jesus to show the world that the LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. Complainers crush the truth that God does not grow tired or weary. Complainers undermine the understanding of God’s limitless understanding. Complainers reveal nothing about faith in God, and convince others of only one thing – that God doesn’t care and isn’t big enough to handle the problem. Complainers tell everyone else that they can’t find enough strength from God to make it through whatever problem they are complaining about.
“Lord Jesus, forgive me for complaining. Forgive me for my weak faith. Forgive me for how many times I have turned inward and expressed anger outward – anger that removes the credibility of my witness for you. Forgive me for not showing the people of the world, and even your people, that I trust you and believe you are in absolute control. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation, and fill me with the hope of glory so that others see that hope and ask me about it. Let my life and my words back up what I believe in my heart – You are the LORD, the everlasting God!”