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“Complaining vs. Contentment”

There is nothing like the movie theater experience. You pay for an expensive ticket to enter, only to pay even more if you want something from the concession. Once you’re set with your snacks and drink, it is time to locate which theater your movie is playing in. Excitement starts to build until you start having to peel your foot off the sticky theater floor with every step. The final challenge of this experience is to find an empty seat with the hopes of it not being too filthy. Oh, and did I mention the other hope? That you won’t be sitting behind the one person who always checks their phone throughout the movie (I have a knack for ALWAYS sitting behind “that guy”). But I’m not one to complain. Oh, wait I just did…huh?

Isn’t it funny how we tend to use that line immediately after complaining? I know I’m guilty of that. By the way…as negative as I made the theater experience out to be, I really miss it. It’s sad that the movie theater experience had to be taken away from me to cause me to stop grumbling. Isn’t it interesting how our attitude can change when something is taken away from us? We tend to miss the things that we once complained about.

Was something taken away from you that you once complained about? Perhaps there is someone that you used to grumble about but miss dearly now. It’s amazing how we can find the smallest things to be unhappy about. We can get extremely critical of circumstances, and critical of people. The Apostle Paul issued a challenge in his letter to the church in Philippi regarding grumbling:

14Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15so that no one can criticize you.

-Philippians 2:14-15a

That one word in the passage really stands out. “EVERYTHING.” In all that we do, we are to NEVER complain, or grumble, or argue. It’s so tough because sometimes, I think to myself, “I have a very good reason to complain!” I then start grumbling to God, or to other people. Have you ever thought that your complaining was justified? too. So why would Paul issue such a difficult, and absolute challenge?

I will offer us three answers to this question. “Faith, contentment, and gratitude.” We must remember that “Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).” A complainer is NOT putting their FAITH in God on full display. In contrast, I would like to offer another answer. “CONTENTMENT” is something that Paul indicated that he had to learn. He stated this later in the same letter to the church in Philippi. Part of contentment is learning to complain less, or perhaps not at all. Lastly, a heart check for us all. We aren’t showing GRATITUDE to God when we complain.

The truth is that God has blessed us with so much. We have a great deal to be thankful for. God is in control, and He loves us. He gives us more than we need. Let us thank God for the many blessings that we are aware of, and the countless blessings that are unseen. May we stop complaining about things, and about people long before it’s taken away from us. May we spend time with God in prayer and reading His Word so that our relationship with Him will be deepened. In this season of “Thanksgiving” let us move from COMPLAINING to CONTENTMENT as we embrace the peace that only God can provide.

P.S. In the spirit of “Gratitude” I wanted to thank you all for the encouraging cards and gifts for “Pastor’s Appreciation.” Lauren and I feel deep love from you.

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