When I think of my favorite verses, I have a very personal reason for selecting Philippians 2:14-15 which says, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Several years after my mother passed away, I commented to my father that mother truly possessed “a meek and quiet spirit,” and that I could not remember hearing her complain during all the years she suffered with cancer before her death.  Dad replied, “Son, that’s because of a vow she made to God.  She promised that she would never complain about anything that happened to her if God would only permit her to live long enough to raise her three sons.”  God granted that request, and she faithfully kept her vow through more than twenty years of her ordeal.  It is quite possible that I would never have seen the beauty or splendor of Philippians 2:14-15 if it had not been lived daily before me.  But now it has become one of the most precious treasures in all of the Bible.  I only wish I could live it as mother did!

Grumbling Can Spoil the Whole Climate of a Life

We all remember the story of Martha and Mary recorded in Luke 10.  Ronald Knox of England has made a very reasonable point in regard to Martha.  He writes that our Lord’s rebuke to Martha was not so much against those who bustle as against those who grumble.  That was what Martha was doing when she asked Jesus to rebuke Mary for not helping to get dinner ready.  She was grumbling.  She thought Mary should help, “plate breaker as she probably was.”

Grumbling Shuts Thanksgiving out of a Life

Gratitude to God is the great antiseptic of life.  It takes the poison out of what would be a self-centered existence without it.  As Cicero said, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all virtues.”  There is a running plea in the Bible for the saving power of thankfulness: but it’s hard to be constantly grumbling and giving thanks at the same time.

 Grumbling Drives the Spirit of Service out of a Life

I have noticed over the years that those who accomplish much do not spend all of their time grumbling.  How can a person think of others with any ongoing love if he is always concerned with his own sore toe?  How can our world open out to human need if it is full of our own complaints and bewailing.  Consider the apostle Paul.  He did not have time to murmur and complain.  He was too busy serving in the kingdom of Christ.  And isn’t it true that most complaining comes from those who don’t do anything else?  Remember the exhortation of the apostle Paul,  “Let each of you look not only to his interests, but also to the interests of others”  (Philippians 2:4).

Having seen the beauty of my mother’s life, I have concluded that much of that which spoils any life could be erased if we would live without grumbling or questioning.  As William Barclay has said, “In the Christian life there is the serenity and the certainty of perfect submission and perfect certainty and perfect trust.”  Those who display such qualities truly “shine as lights in the world.”                               –John Gipson (Adapted)


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