I have been reading the letter written to the Philippians by the Apostle Paul. In the second chapter there are 5 verses that I have been reading over and over and meditating on.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.”
I have read Philippians many times in my life. It’s a favorite book because Terry and I used it as part of our wedding vows. I have participated in many studies on these verses. It is a powerful passage and I have always see the “no grumbling” command. I have experienced the guilt over this command. I have tried hard at different times to “not grumble.” But, I can’t say that I always or even seldom adhere to it.
Now I want it to be different. I am sure Terry is thinking, “it’s about time!”
Why now? I think it is because I wear these glasses I call India. Much of what I read and study, think and do is now clouded by these glasses…And that is a good thing.
Look at that first sentence in the passage. The author of this letter says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”. Yep I have always focused on the grumbling. Terry gets to focus on the disputing But one little word jumped out at me this time…ALL. Wow…that means everything that I do.
EVERY. Darn. Thing.
I admit it. I grumble. I complain. I don’t dispute much, at least not out loud! But I grumble.
“The weather is too cold and wet.”
“Why did they choose that group instead of mine for the job, we have so much more experience?”
“The airlines changed my seat on the plane and now I have to sit in the very back…by the bathroom.”
“The laundry is piled up and I have to wash the clothes again.”
“I have to cook dinner again, I am so tired!”
When I am in India, I watch Trevor and Annie and the other friends we have made. They do not have the comforts of life that we do. Their life is hard compared to ours. Each day they work for that day’s meal. Sometimes they eat two meals a day, many times just one. They are laborers who work in the heat for 12-16 hours each day, six days a week. These people in Jaipur live in concrete homes with the walls falling down. The friends who live in the other villages in Rajasthan live in thatch roofed houses with dirt floors. Many of them do not have conveniences like washer and dryers, refrigerators, cars, or computers. Most of them have only one change of clothes and a good pair of shoes. None of them can afford things like toothbrushes and toothpaste, medicine for headaches or colds and meat for their daily meals.
Despite these things, they don’t complain. In fact, they are thankful. They thank Father for their one change of clothes and one pair of shoes. They are grateful for the small portion of food they get each day and rejoice when they do have enough to buy some kind of meat for their meal. they do their work with thanksgiving and humbleness, serving those around them who have much less. They give away most of what they have to help others.
So, I want to follow their example. When I look at my life, I really don’t have anything to grumble about. When I find myself about to complain, I have started saying Thank you to Father. I have started going to Him first when I think something is wrong and I feel the need to argue. I am working at being aware of ALL my grumblings and to be intentional to say Thank You in ALL things and to really mean it.
There is much more I am learning in this passage. For now…it’s time to stop grumbling in ALL things. Today is a good day to start.