Summary: This is my annual Thanksgiving Message
Getting Rid of the Grumbles
Thanksgiving Message - November 19, 2006
A young preacher began a ministry at a church that was rife with disunity, so he devised a simple method to eliminate the bickering. Whenever a member came to him to complain, he would take a spiral notebook out of his desk drawer. It was brand new-still had the Wal-Mart sticker on it. Across the cover of the notebook he had written in magic marker, "Complaints." Then he would say to the member, "I’m glad you’re here. Let’s go over your complaints against so-and-so one by one, and I’ll write them down, and you can sign the complaint. At the next church meeting we’ll bring it up, and you can present your case then." When the church member saw the open book, he or she would inevitably back down, saying, "Oh no! I couldn’t sign anything like that." During ten years of ministry the preacher opened that notebook dozens of times, but he never wrote anything in it.
What is grumbling? Why do we do it? What does it do to us?
Grumbling is simply an extreme form of complaining. It is complaining to the point of overkill.
Over and over again we see examples of this throughout the Bible. People who were never satisfied with anything that God gave to them. Specifically the Old Testament tells us the Israelites and their struggles with grumbling.
The truth is essentially this: When we grumble we can’t be thankful and if we’re thankful we can’t grumble.
10 Ways to Ensure a Thankless Heart
1.) Be happy about nothing in your life
2.) Believe that you deserve every good thing in your life and more that you don’t yet have
3.) Take all of your blessings for granted
4.) Expect everything in your life to always go your way
5.) Find satisfaction in nothing: nothing you have, nothing you do
6.) Complain about everything, everywhere with everyone
7.) Thank God for absolutely nothing
8.) Take credit for the blessings in your life
9.) Figure out something that you don’t have that you want and get fixated with it
10.) Be negative when anything goes wrong
4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! 5 We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. 6 But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!" Numbers 11:4-6
The trouble here begins within those who were called the rabble. This was a group of non-Jews who had followed Israel out of Egypt. The King James and the New King James says that they were a mixed multitude. These people were traveling with Israel but were not a part of the Israelite nation. This mixed multitude was mixed both ethnically and spiritually. What was happening was that this group was causing trouble about the food. The problem was that the trouble didn’t stay just in this group but passed into the Israelite camp.
This whole thing more than likely started small and spread like wild fire. One of the rabble started complaining about what they did not have, then moved into what they had back in Egypt and maybe even moved to something like this: if your God is so good why don’t you have meat. The other group was craving other food. In other words they were tired of what God was giving to them and wanted something else.
We sometimes complain don’t we? We complain about things of earth shaking importance.
Where we park at the grocery store
Too few people in church
The job that we have
The food that we eat
Worship service was too long
The time of the service is too early
We have the ability to walk
Those who are here
There are many who have none
Many today will go hungry
Freedom to worship
Some would be but can’t get out
This kind of complaining is nothing more than whining. This is what was going on so long ago in the Israelite camp
The end result was wailing in the camp. Wailing is literally a load and unconsolable crying. There are tiems when Samuel cries for something to eat. When Samuel wants to eat he is usually not patient about it. He gets upset when that bottle takes too long and he is tired of waiting for it. He will cry until that bottle arrives. Once he has the bottle the crying stops.
The wailing that is described here reminds me of Samuel getting upset for his bottle. These people were very upset and were to the point of crying. The rabble was causing such a stir in the camp that people in every family were wailing. Can you hear the whining in those words? Can you see the tears running down their faces? Their situation must have been horrible. The distress was too much. What they were crying about - If only we had meat. These people were literally crying over the fact that they wanted different food.