w/c 23 MAY 2022


Good morning everyone! Or is it? However it is for you, let’s read our next passage in Philippians: Philippians 2: 14-18

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

When I was in charge of the teenagers group at another church, I used to often say:

“No whingeing, no whining and no moaning!” And a smart Alec teenager with a twinkle in his eye said: “Yeah but what about groaning. Is that allowed?”

There was someone I used to know and you would have a conversation with her and it wouldn’t be long before she was moaning about something – and usually someone!

It was said of the Big Three ministers at London Methodist Central Hall that Sangster loved his Lord, Weatherhead loved his people and Soper loved his argument!

Oh dear, dear, dear.

Why do we complain? Why do we argue?

In our reading, the previous verse says that God is working in you. He is working in us. If we are spending our time complaining and arguing – who are we complaining to and arguing with? I suspect that we are not going to the Lord about it.

Let’s be practical. Stuff happens. Remember the wise man and the foolish man. The wise man built his house upon the rock and the foolish man built his house upon the sand. But what happened to both of them. It rained on both. Good stuff and bad stuff happen regardless. And I guess only a fool would expect life to be perfectly as he or she would like it. They would be constantly moaning and arguing!

So life is messy. And not perfect.

So I guess the question is why. Why should we not complain or argue?

I’ve got this quote at the front of one of my many notebooks (quoted from Brother Lawrence):

God knows best what we need and all that he does is for our good. If we knew how much he loves us, we should always be ready to receive equally and with indifference from his hand the sweet and bitter. The surest afflictions never appear intolerable expect when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them dispensed by the hand of God, when we know it is our loving Father who is working in these matters, our sufferings will lose their bitterness and even become precious as they bring us more intimately to the Lord.

When we start complaining and arguing – why not just go to the Lord with it. Just today I spoke with someone who was feeling utterly rubbish and they shouted to the Lord: “Help!” Then they noticed over the next few days, little portions of scripture kept popping up: “Cast your burdens onto Jesus”; “Come to me, all those who are heavy laden”; “My yoke is easy and my burden light”.

So do that. Go to the Lord. Maybe with a friend who can help and pray with and for you.

And what about church life? In our Home Groups, Sundays and all the other times we meet whether in twos or threes or more. Well this is where we can model what Paul is saying. We can practice church life without complaining or arguing. It’s a safe place – a great place to practice going to the Lord or maybe asking someone to pray for you.

So when you feel the burden to complain or argue; go to the Lord. Make that your default position.

Category: Bible teaching and courses , The Bridge , Thought for the week