I get annoyed sometimes when I hear people complaining. Is your job really that awful? At least you have a job. And you couldn't find the right shade of eye shadow I feel so sorry for you. You didn't get the grade you wanted? Did you study hard enough?
I'm sure I am guilty of doing this occasionally. I know one thing I constantly complain about is the price of gas (do you remember when it was under $1!?!). But I think we forget how good we have it.
Deuteronomy 28:47-48 - 47 Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things; 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in the lack of all things; and He will put an iron yoke on your neck until He has destroyed you."
Regardless of our worldly riches, God has given us more than we could ever ask for! He has given us freedom and grace upon grace. He has given us relentless love and unending mercy. And we don't even deserve it! And what do we do? We complain about that don't even matter. As Francis Chan puts it, "The God of the universe - the creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and e-minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss." And then go out to lunch and complain that our latte isn't hot enough or that we scuffed our shoes or that we don't have any downtime.
How often do we do what He asks of us? And of those times that we are serving the Lord (which should be always and in everything that we do), how often are we doing so with joy and gladness in our hearts? I think our answer says it all, or at least mine does.
In reality, "The more God gives us the more cheerfully we should serve Him; our abundance should be oil to the wheels of obedience" (Henry). And our abundance is overflowing!!! We have cars and food each day, we have freedom to worship our God, the list goes on...and on...and on....
I read this verse and thought, "Wow, that seems a little harsh..." but "If, when we receive the gifts of God's bounty, we either do not serve Him at all or serve Him with reluctance, it is a righteous thing with Him to make us know the hardships of want and servitude. Those deserve to have cause given them to complain who complain without a cause" (Henry).
If we truly want to serve the Lord with joy and gladness in our hearts, and we should, we must first realize the magnitude of His greatness and all that He has done for us. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19). He loved us, knowing that we were going to sin, knowing that we would disappoint Him, betray Him, and yes, murder Him! He gave us free will, He gave us life, He gives us mercy, grace, and a chance at redemption every single day. We have no cause to complain.
Today I challenge you to serve God in everything that you are doing today - with joy and gladness in your heart. When you feel that need to complain, about anything (from the weather, to gas prices, to your job), bite your tongue and refrain. Instead, offer up a "thank you" for what God HAS give you!