A couple was travelling across the country and got hungry. They decided to stop at a truck stop and have supper. They weren’t sure about eating at that type of roadside diner but they were hungry enough to give it a go. As they approached the door, a truck driver walked out of the restaurant. They asked him if the food was any good.
The driver said he had eaten in this restaurant many times. He discouraged them from doing so with the following words: “The food is terrible, the mashed potatoes are watery, the meat is tough, the coffee is stale, and the pie is like cardboard. Oh, and one other thing – the portions are too small!” I guess that despite the awful food the driver wanted to get his money’s worth.
It’s amazing how professional we can be at complaining. For some people it’s a full-time occupation. Thanks to comment sections on websites and blogs we can even make sure our complaints reach a worldwide audience.
But complaining isn’t a harmless activity. It affects our spirit and relationship with God. The children of Israel were famous for complaining about their situation. Paul tells us not to “grumble, as some of them did” because they died for it. (1 Corinthians 10:10)
If we are anxious, concerned or frustrated about something, we are encouraged to pray about it. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Better yet, we are told to “do everything without grumbling.” (Philippians 2:14) Most of the time we think this is an impossible command. And it is tough. But Paul’s theme in Philippians is all about the joy of the Lord. One of the reasons we lose that joy is because of our grumbling and complaining. In reality, we live in a day and age of great abundance and blessing. We need the Spirit’s help in training our minds to see God’s goodness in the world around us.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)