Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lord help me to "Stop Complaining!"

It is so easy to complain, gripe and bellyache, and forget how blessed we really are.

Remember the ten lepers in the Bible (Luke 17:11-19)? All ten were healed, but only ONE returned to give glory to God after he had been healed. That is 10% of those who had been blessed beyond measure, slowed down enough to say "Thanks Lord!" What about you? What about me? Are we thankful? Or do we have a tendency to complain?

Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing" A good question for us today is, "Am I filled with THANKSGIVING or COMPLAINING?"

David C. Egner writes: While I was teaching at a Christian college, a talented young man pushed his way into my life. He needed one more course to graduate, so he decided that I should give him an independent study in writing. He would be everlastingly grateful if I would just do this--even though it required extra work on my part. The college dean agreed to the idea because of the young man's abilities. What a headache! He skipped appointments, missed deadlines, and rejected my evaluations of his writing. He even turned in the last assignment just hours before graduation. After all that was done for him, you'd think he would have been grateful. But he didn't express one word of thanks on graduation day nor in all the years since.

I don't ever want to be that kind of person. I would rather be like David. When he was in deep trouble, he called out to the Lord for help (Ps. 28:1-2). Afterward, he remembered to give God thanks for delivering him (vv.6-7). In fact, David's heart of gratitude toward the Lord is evident throughout the book of Psalms.

"Dear Abby" is a popular syndicated newspaper column, Started in 1956 by Abigail Van Buren, the advice column is written today by her daughter Jeanne Phillips. In an edition a few years ago, she included this Thanksgiving Prayer written many years before by her mother:

O Heavenly Father: We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry. We thank Thee for health and remember the sick. We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless. We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved. May these remembrances stir us to service. That Thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen."

The words of this prayer echo the clear teaching of Scripture. Our thanksgiving to God should always be accompanied by thinking of those in need. "Therefore," said the writer to the Hebrews, "by [Jesus] let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15).

But there is more to it than thankfulness. We are to put actions behind our gratitude. "Do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased" (v.16).

Be thankful for God's many blessings, but be sure to remember those who have less. What about us? Do we have an ungrateful response to the Lord's graciousness? Or are we, like David, unceasingly expressing our thanks to God for His goodness? Is there someone whose kindness I've been taking for granted? How can I show that person gratitude today? In what ways can I show my gratitude to God? When you count your blessings, it adds up to thankfulness. At least it should. Amen?


Pastor Rusty