Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Grumbling Blogger Repents

I had signed up to help with a project at church. I didn't have a direction from God. I didn't feel called.  I wasn't even sure I wanted to help, but it seemed there was a need I could meet. 

My first meeting was last night, and, from the beginning, I wanted to quit. There was nothing wrong with the project, the project leader, or the project participants. People were eager to please God with the project, and everyone was trying hard to do a good job, but it's not an easy project.

It was harder than I thought it would be. It wasn't what I had expected. It would take more time than I wanted to give. 

I'm ashamed to admit this, but after writing about the perils of grumbling yesterday, I found myself grumbling up a storm last night. 

You name it, I grumbled about it. I wanted to quit, and spoke my intention to the person sitting next to me. "You've only been here thirty minutes. Give it a little time. It won't always be hard. You'll like this." I smiled and pressed on, but I doubted I would ever like it. 

Very few of my grumbles were out loud, but God heard every single one

My friend who sat next to me heard a little of my grumbling.  "I'm gonna pray for you," she told me. This morning, her prayers have already been answered.

As I was driving home, I remembered my blog post from yesterday and thought, "I've joined in with the rabble." I repented all the way home and have continued to repent this morning.  

When it was time to start the blog for today, I was wordless and praying for something that would be helpful. After flipping back through more than 1,300 previous blog posts, I found one of the "least read" posts from 2013. It was about the importance of words and based on the preaching of John the Baptizer. Exactly what I needed to read.

"So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people." (Luke 3:18 NASB)

The Message paraphrases that verse this way: "There was a lot more of this—words that gave strength to the people, words that put heart in them." The Message (Luke 3:18 MSG)

When John preached, he spoke words that strengthened the people and put heart in them. 

"He helped them find their way through the early days of this remarkably personal faith they had embraced. John spoke with words that they could remember, that they could hold to and use during the difficult days." (LH, 2013)

I read my own words, written more than two years ago, and was filled with sorrow. My words (spoken and unspoken) had not been exhortations that strengthened those around me or put heart into my fellow servants. They had been grumblings that only served to discourage the ones sitting next to me.

I'm so sorry for grumbling.

This morning, I've listened to the rolling thunder and repented. The project is one that will glorify God and give Him great pleasure, but not if I undertake it with a grumbly heart. 

I've decided to embrace it. With a heart of joy and love for the One who first loved me. God loves a cheerful giver, and I'm committing myself to giving this gift of service, time, and talent with a cheerful heart. Even if it's hard and takes a lot more time than I  wanted to give.

If you have a tendency toward grumbling, take a hint from me. It's not worth it.

Let's be sure our words, our actions, and our attitudes give strength to those around us and put heart in them. Let's use the words of our mouths (and the meditations of our hearts) to encourage those who serve, not discourage them.

Serve with a cheerful heart. It's the kind of gift God loves best.

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