THE INNER BEAUTY OF GRATEFULNESS. (1 MAY 2016)
A message & reminder on a critical issue for most everyone, incl. notably Americans. As we face difficulties, we want God by our side. Like the wife who never stops complaining, we the bride of Christ have developed habits of discontent, complaining & grumbling. Think about it, if you worked for a boss who always grumbles in the morning, and later a boss in the afternoon who showed appreciation, which one would motivate you the most?? I don’t have to give my opinion on this, plenty of studies show that appreciation works miracles compared to grumbling. No surprise there. When I was Amish, I really enjoyed that they have a culture that never grumbles. They really had the inner beauty of gratefulness. It is just not PC in an Amish community to grumble. In fact as Amish, we’d sing a funny song about people who grumble the whole week through. “O they grumble on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…”
COMMANDED NOT TO GRUMBLE. There are numerous Scriptures that teach that we are not to grumble. Here are just four: “Do all things without murmurings & disputings.”(A) “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”(B) “Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, ‘Murmur not among yourselves.’”(C) “Do ye thus requite YHWH, O foolish people & unwise? Is not He thy Father that hath bought thee? Hath He not made thee, and established thee?”(D) In fact the grumbling of the Israelites, after YHWH God had miraculously saved them from Egyptian slavery, brought the strongest reaction from YHWH…He sent poisonous snakes among the people to kill them all. The account of this in Numbers 21 led to an illustration of the new birth thousands of years later. When people were spiritually bit by sin (they were then physically bit by a snake), & their salvation was to obediently look at the bronze snake on the cross. Christ described how that bronze snake which was placed on a tau (a T –a T shaped cross) was a prophetic foreshadowing of Christ on the cross providing people with redemption from their sins.(E) My point is that grumbling was such a bad sin against God, that it brought the death penalty upon God’s people.
HOW CRITICAL IS THIS? I think nothing displays how critical the issue of gratefulness v. grumbling is than the following interesting true history. (You can read this history in the book “With The Old Breed” by E.B. Sledge, but I have also heard the same thing directly from solders themselves.) A little background: The First Marine Division was the only Marine division when WW 2 broke out, so they were made up of many vets from previous fighting—hence they were called “the Old Breed”. In WW 2, the division fought at Guadalcanal, Peleliu (pronounced Pel –a –loo), & Okinawa. Each of these hellish nightmares were hells beyond description, but Sledge does an excellent job (as one of the few survivors) in giving a good description. Only 26 men of his original company (Co. K) survived the 82 day hell of Okinawa. The company had about 300 men when they landed and received about that many replacements. They hid in muddy water-filled holes while constantly bombarded by Japanese artillery. Constantly wet skin began rotting. Around them for days was the stench of dead marines & Japanese, and if they moved they often ended up with maggots and slime from the dead around them. To fully describe the horrors would take pages…so let me just sum it up… it was the lowest level of hell beyond imagination. Men went crazy. Some shot themselves to end their misery. Towards the end of the campaign, the surviving marines began to get mail from those wounded & evacuated back to the states. Guess what? The wounded men said they wanted to leave the States and come back to be with the company. Some actually volunteered to come back. It was puzzling to the men fighting. Why? Because the men could not stand all the little complaining the civilians did. If their coffee was not hot enough, or if they had to wait a couple minutes for a bus, ….and on and on the complaining went. Allow me to quote Sledge on all this:
“Our buddies who had gone back had been greeted enthusiastically—as those of us who survived were received later on. But the folks back home didn’t, and in retrospect couldn’t have been expected to, understand what we had experienced, what in our minds seemed to set us apart forever from anyone who hadn’t been in combat. We didn’t want to indulge in self-pity. We just wished that people back home could understand how lucky they were and stop complaining about trivial inconveniences.”(F)
WILL YOU JOIN ME IN PRAYER…Our beautiful gracious merciful God, thank you for all you have done for us. Forgive us for our discontent attitudes & grumbling. If all you had given us was salvation it would have been enough, but you gave us more. If all you had given us was the inspiration & examples of how to act, it would have been enough, but you gave us more. We could thank you for a long time for all the things you have done. Thank you for giving us joy & peace, in a world that lives in confusion & fear. In awe of your majesty we sing your praise. God you’ve been good to us, & we are grateful. Amen.
(A) PHLP 2:14 (B) HEB 13:5 (C) JN 6:43 (D) DT 32:6 (E) JN chapter 3 (F) Sledge, E.B. With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. NY: Presideo Press, 1981, p. 267.
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