I grumble sometimes. About the weather, about the Flames, about the government – certainly about the chaos of COVID. I even once grumbled about my wife back in 1993. Rarely do I repent of my grumbling. I excuse it, justify it, rationalize it away, but rarely do I repent of it. It’s not that big of a deal. Yet God says it is.
Our reading from 1 Corinthians from a few weeks ago places complaining in pretty lofty company. Paul lists four of the “bigger sins” we could commit – a list that includes idolatry, immorality, testing God and grumbling! I guess God thinks it is a big deal.
The Psalmist from today’s reading also elevates this “acceptable sin.” He describes the Israelites as a people who exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull (v20). They forgot the God who saved them and who did such great things for them (v21). They despised their place in life and ignored God’s promises. (v24) And then it happens again: “they grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord.” (v25)
Why the big deal with grumbling? It leaves no room for gratitude and joy. It is, tragically, terribly contagious. It minimizes what God has done and is doing for us today. Essentially, it tells God that we think he is seriously underperforming. It assumes we know what’s best. It simply makes us control our lives and questions his character and capacity to watch over us.
Paul wrote to the Philippians that we are to do all things without “grumbling or arguing.” (Phil. 2:14). Grumbling and gratitude simply cannot co-exist in the same heart. Grumbling compromises the work and will of God in our lives. Grumbling robs us of joy and hope and peace.
Do we face disappointments in life? Almost daily. But, may we leave those disappointments with the One who loves us most in life and trust in the goodness of his plan and his heart. Let us choose to be grateful and kick grumbling to the curb! Sacred and beautiful things happen in our hearts and souls when we do. Isaiah talked about the people of God who choose to look to their Maker, who turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 17:7) One thing I know for sure about people who do that – there’s no time to grumble! Let’s be those people today!
A Lead Pastor who is seeking to eradicate grumbling from his life! (with varying degrees of success … thanks for your prayers!)