God gives lots of reasons to be grateful
March 30, 2011 - The Lord has convicted me of something lately. I mutter a lot. You say, "What? Not you, Greg! You're a pastor! And you seem so upbeat and positive!"
Sure I can be upbeat when I'm up front and in public view. But I have to admit that in my own thoughts, I can be quite the mutterer! I can whine and gripe and whisper under my breath with the best of them.
A few Sundays ago I gave a talk from Luke 20, where Jesus warns us not to be grumblers or mutterers.
I admitted to my congregation that the message was for me as well as for them. Do you mutter? On a typical day, what kind of self-talk is going on in your head?
Someone pulls out in front of you. Someone makes some kind of remark at work. You get that phone call. A hundred things can happen that just throw us off balance for that day. We spend the day muttering.
A few weeks ago I was getting gas in my van at a local gas station. I paid inside and walked out.
A man asked me, "Is that your van?" I said, "Yes." He said, "I'm sorry but I pulled too close and knocked your mirror off." My nice van! How dare he! We exchanged information and I drove away –muttering.
Then I realized, "Greg, you have so much to be thankful for. Your family is healthy. You've got lots of great friends and a great church. Don't let a stupid mirror ruin your day."
And I didn't. God gave me the grace to be grateful that day.
Gratitude or muttering. It's a choice. It's a perspective.
And for those of us who claim faith in Jesus, we have even more reason to be grateful. Philippians 2:14 says, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life."
How much complaining goes on in your family? In your relationships? In your own heart and mind?
1 Peter 4:8 says, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. " (1 Peter 4:8–9)
Do you love people from the heart, deeply? Or do you view most people as problems and you'd just as soon keep your distance? Are you a hospitable person who looks to help people, or do you grumble when some need presents itself and you think, "Well, I guess I have to do something?"
One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near."
Joy! Gentleness! That's God's will for our lives! Not grumpiness! Not gruffness! Not muttering! Try it this week. See how it changes your life.
The Rev. Greg Henneman is pastor of Clarkston Community Church.