Paul challenges us to do everything "without complaining or arguing" (Phil. 2:14). We live in a society and world where complaining seems a right to one and all. Most of us probably have received our share of complaints from people who have their own ideas and thoughts about how a ministry or activity could better be run. However, when we ask for their serious help they abandon us. It frustrates many who are trying to minister to the needs of the local church.
In recent weeks all of us across most of North America have faced the challenges of the first hard winter in over a decade. It has caused lower numbers in church attendance for over a month in many parts of our country. It is easy to get down when we are living for the numbers, but it amazes me how people continually resort to complaining. Don't get me wrong, I am not making any plans to join the polar bear swim team. I realize it is an adjustment for us to deal with the cold and snow, and some truly have had a hard time with getting out. However, I was challenged after conversing with another pastor recently by how negative we and many other ministers have become with the weather.
I think that it reveals a deeper issue in most of our hearts, which really has to do with pride. We get used to our numbers growing, or at least staying steady. When the numbers go down and we have no way to control things, like the weather, then we tend to complain. God is still God, and He remains in control of the weather. We speak of the good blessings of God raining on the just and the unjust alike, but it also snows on the just and the unjust alike. We and our neighbors are all in the same place.
Instead of living in a place of complaint, maybe we need to come together with those who are able to gather, and still focus on "whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable" (Phil. 4:8). The truth is when we keep our eyes on what we have to be grateful for, and looking at what is good in our world and community we can restore the joy of our soul. May our hearts and minds be filled with the good God is doing, instead of the momentary struggles we may be facing. In His strength we will remain steady.
- Keep on your journey faithfully