I do not want to be a grumbler, but sometimes I am. I easily see the positive side of other people’s circumstances. But some days I find myself less than thankful in mine. Interestingly, it’s not the “big” things in which I struggle. It’s in the petty ones: the times I don’t get my way, or face things I don’t want to do.
When I consider what grumbling truly is, I realize just how ugly it is. The mere definition of grumble makes me cringe. It compels me to eradicate it from my life:
Grumble: “To complain in a surly manner; mutter discontentedly.”
Grumbling is the visible evidence of ingratitude, and ingratitude goes back to the garden of Eden. Satan tempted Adam and Eve with something more, something better. And when we bite the apple of ingratitude, we’re telling God we deserve better. We’re saying His plans, His ways, and His provision are not good enough.
Grumbling, and the ingratitude it represents, robs us of the joy and peace God promises. It tarnishes the beauty of relationships. It hides, and even thwarts the purpose of challenging circumstances. Ingratitude causes us to focus on what we don’t have instead of all we do have. It says of our blessings, “You’re not enough.”
Ultimately, grumbling is a sign of unbelief. A short distance into their journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites began murmuring: “We should have stayed in Egypt.” In their grumbling, they perpetuated a lie. They believed slavery would be better than their current circumstances. And as easily as I can see the error in their thinking and grumbling, I need to be able to see it in mine. Most of the Israelites never entered the Promised Land because of their unbelief. I certainly don’t want to forfeit mine.
There’s a direct correlation between being grateful and living for God’s glory. When we’re intentional to be thankful, we start seeing everyday things as an expression of God’s glory. A new dawn, a spring storm, the changing color of leaves…they are all evidence of the glory (the beauty, holiness, excellence and utter goodness) of God. We’ll see people, circumstances, as well as interruptions in a new way. When we choose to thank God in all circumstances, we’ll be far more likely to see God’s glory in them.
Choosing to be thankful falls into the category of “just do it.” For those of us who struggle with grumbling, there is something so simple, yet so profound, we can do. It’s Way #12 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:
Be intentional to thank God every day, in many ways.
Be assured, the return far outweighs your investment:
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” (Psalm 50:23).
Do you want to live for the glory of God? Then heed this specific command:
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18