When my children were little nothing would get on my “last nerve” quicker than whining. That high pitched, protracted sound of complaining could make even Mother Teresa snap. Their whining always came from a place of want and self-pity. My standard response was, “Mommy can’t hear you when you whine.” (oh how I wish that was true!) Fortunately as they matured the whining came to an end.
I must confess that I too have a propensity to whine when life is not going my way. About 10 years ago I needed to find a part time job to help supplement our income. The only job I could find was doing data entry work for a phone booth company making minimum wage. It was quite a step down for a gal who had been managing businesses for the last 20 years. My teenage son was making more money than I was.
I whined and complained to God about the demeaning job He gave me; about having to work at all; and about the measly salary I was making. My attitude was evident to my employer. She pulled me aside one day and called me out on my bad attitude. I was ashamed and embarrassed that as a follower of Christ I was such a poor example of Him.
God used that incident to teach me to be grateful for the gifts He had given me and to not whine about what I didn’t’ have. He then showed me an example in 2 Samuel of a man named Mephibosheth who had lots of reason to whine, but didn’t.
Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son and grandson of King Saul. Crippled as a baby he had no resources to provide for himself or his family. When David became king he adopted Mephibosheth out of kindness and gave his a room in his palace, a place at his table, and restored to him the wealth of his grandfather.
When David was forced to flee Jerusalem during a time of war, Mephibosheth did not come with him and David is told by Ziba the servant that Mephibosheth has betrayed him. Believing this to be true, David gives Ziba, all of Mephibosheth’s wealth. When David finally returns to the palace sometime later, Mephibosheth greets him with dirty, torn clothes and an unkempt appearance, a sign of mourning. David asks him why he did not come with him. Mephibosheth says that Ziba deceived him and that he was unable to leave as he was crippled. David does not know who to believe so he splits the wealth between the two of them. Mephibosheth, however, is as a man who understands grace. “Give him all of it” he says, “it is enough that I get to dine at your table.”
Mephibosheth recognized that all he had was a gift from God who had ultimate power to give and take away as He pleases.
This was a lesson that the children of Israel failed to learn. They spent many years in the desert whining, wandering and waiting to enter the Promised Land. They witnessed God’s rescue and provision of them multiple times and yet they continued to whine about they did not have. They would have done well to remember David’s advice, Psalm 34:1, I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Whining is more common among all of us than we realize. When we feel we have been treated unfairly, passed up for the job promotion, when we don’t get that raise, when our lives don’t go as we planned or want, we whine and complain to God. Perhaps we don’t realize that is what we are doing. When we complain about what we DON’T have instead of PRAISE HIM for what we do have, we are essentially accusing God of not taking care of us. We also place ourselves in the place of God by saying we can run things better than Him. This is at its core, idolatry. When we put ourselves in God’s chair we are worshipping something or someone other than God; ourselves.
Jesus said this in Matthew 6 of Our Heavenly Father, “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
When I stopped whining about my job and began praising God for it my attitude changed; not overnight but a little each day. I found I actually enjoyed going to work again. I volunteered for overtime when it was needed, even working on Saturdays. I offered to do work for others. I worked as unto the Lord and turned around my reputation in the eyes of my employer. A year later when I was moving onto to another job my employer was genuinely sad to see me go because I was such a good, faithful, hard-working employee. I don’t say that to boast in myself but to boast in my God who blesses us with His great gifts. May we always be grateful for his generosity and love for us.
When we mature in the Lord we are to put away childish things. Let’s put away our whining and be grateful for God’s generosity and love for us.; praising Him in all things.