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Friday, August 4, 2006
"When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner" (Matthew 20:11).
I heard a pastor use a phrase that colorfully describes grumbling as "squeezing grapes". Do you ever find yourself "squeezing grapes" (in other words grumbling, whining or complaining)? I am glad I don't have to see the show of hands. I know mine would have to go up!
In my observation complaining is on a rapid increase. Right now our part of the country is experiencing excessive heat so there's lots of grumbling going on all around me. But it seems to me overall that there's more and more focus on the negative. Just watch the news and you'll see interviews with individuals complaining about the unfair treatment they got from the government, from nature's storms, and on and on it goes.
The daily text is a small portion of Scripture from our Lord's parable of the workers in the vineyard, which is recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. If you're not familiar with this parable I encourage you to read it to get a good understanding of the truth Christ presents in this teaching. *
Essentially it deals with perceived unfairness regarding the way the landowner (God) handles His affairs. Several groups each worked for wages that had been agreed upon prior to starting. However, due to comparisons with the other groups one group had "expected to receive more" (v. 10) and when they didn't get it they "began to grumble against the landowner."
At its heart grumbling is our reaction to a perceived unfairness. "I deserve more than this" or "I deserve better than this", we may say or certainly think. And regardless of how much we have or the extent of our blessing there's always something to grumble about! In fact in a sense I detect complaining rises proportionately to blessing and prosperity.
In so many ways the road of life has ongoing forks. Probably today we will encounter a situation that will tempt us to grumble. (I already have several.) We can set out on the road of grumbling or we can choose the road of gratitude. The choice is ours!
Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son. *
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's Prayer: Jesus, Your Word tells us to do everything without complaining and arguing so that we may become blameless and pure in a crooked and depraved generation. Instead of heaping negative attention on ourselves we are to shine like stars in the universe so that the divine light of Christ may be evident in the way we interact with our peers. Would You raise me above the fray of life as I determine to have an attitude of thanksgiving and praise to Him who doeth all things well! Amen.
Additional note to today's prayer: In reflecting upon Philippians 2:14, 15 (which is the basis of my prayer) I consider the analogy Paul makes of believers shining like the stars of the universe. When we go outside after darkness has fallen it's inevitable that our eyes are drawn upward because we're naturally drawn to light. Our focus is not on the darkness that surrounds us, but rather the numerous stars that we often find ourselves counting or trying to find certain patterns. I wonder if what Paul is trying to convey through his analogy is that having a pleasant disposition and grateful heart in the midst of trying circumstances draws others to the light of Christ that indwells us?
Additional thought: As I prepare today's message I am aware that there are those reading this who really are going through a terrific trial. I consider readers from countries like Israel and Lebanon and so many other places. I also consider those going through a severe personal trial in regard to health or a family matter. I still maintain that it's not God's will that we complain or grumble even in the midst of a trial like this, however the main focus of today's message is the tendency to grumble about little things. I have prayed for my brothers and sisters dealing with severe trials today. One brother, writing from a place of peace and safety, has you on his heart today.
"Give Thanks" Smith, Henry Integrity Music, Inc. © 1978 Integrity's Hosanna! Music (c/o Integrity Music, Inc.) CCLI License No. 2005306 "Give Thanks" (from the service of Willingdon Church in British Columbia Canada) Audio Video
* Matthew 20:1-16
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