Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it’s the day after, but as we discussed in this week’s episode of the Encouragement for Real Life podcast, thanksgiving isn’t just a day. It’s a way of life. But some days it’s easier to grumble than be grateful, right? I know because I do it. I wish I didn’t, but I do. So, in this post let’s take a longer look at living with gratefulness.
So, how was your Thanksgiving? I pray it was very special and full of thankfulness. Our holiday was very nice. Full of family, food, and fellowship! And I even got to do one of my favorite things! While preparing our Thanksgiving meal, my husband and I were able to watch some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on tv. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched it, so it was a treat for me this year!
So, yes, Thanksgiving Day 2021 was a wonderful day!
Looking back, even though it was a wonderful day, I unfortunately had plenty of opportunities to grumble. And sadly, I took advantage of them. I grumbled about a dish for our meal not turning out “perfect.” (I’m the worst at apologizing for the food I make.) I grumbled during the day about a situation that happened earlier this week. And I grumbled about not having enough hours in the day. (Because I wanted our time together to last much longer.)
Goodness. Who grumbles on Thanksgiving? Did you do any sort of grumbling yesterday?
Grateful and grumble do not go together.
Am I right? And the thing is, it’s impossible to be grateful when we grumble. And the opposite is also true. It’s impossible to grumble when we are grateful.
Do you know just how many instances and verses are in the Bible about grumbling? So many! I found too many to count! But the greatest example I could find about grumbling is in Exodus, chapter 16. You might be familiar with it. As the Israelites left Egypt and their lives of slavery, Moses and Aaron led them into the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. But the Israelites began to grumble against Moses, saying it would have been better if they stayed in Egypt, and in slavery, than to be hungry there in the wilderness.
Yet, God heard their grumbling and provided food: quail for them at night and manna for them each morning. But the thing is, their grumbling truly wasn’t centered on who they were grumbling to, namely Moses and Aaron. Reading this chapter and others beyond this one, we find out they were actually grumbling against the Lord. They just weren’t aware they were.
So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”Exodus 16:6-8 ESV
Who dares grumble against the Lord? Against God, Himself?
Wow. Well, sadly, I do the same thing. I’m no different than the Israelites in this biblical account. This spoke to me, because my grumbling isn’t really against what I’m grumbling about. It’s not against my life, my circumstances, or anything else. When I grumble, it’s against God. Plain and simple. Even if I don’t mention God’s name or speak directly to Him.
Why? Well, just as with the Israelites, God is in control and provides all you and I need. When we grumble about the hand we’ve been dealt, or God’s provision we don’t want, or the situations we find ourselves in, we are grumbling against God. Not intentionally, possibly, but that’s what we’re doing.
The thing is, I know better.
Maybe you do, too. I’ve been taught this lesson before. Years ago. In fact, I vividly remember talking with our children about grumbling as we were leaving a Bible Study Fellowship class one day when they were toddlers. (They are adults now.) This passage of scripture was our lesson for that day, and I can recall the wonderful conversation we had about it. Yet, here I am, years later, still struggling with grumbling.
Get this, though. In Numbers 11, it gets worse. The Israelites continued to grumble, except here they grumbled about the manna. God had enough of their grumbling in chapter 14.
And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me. Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord, what you have said in my hearing I will do to you: your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness, and of all your number, listed in the census from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against me, not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.Numbers 14:26-30
It’s a wonder God hasn’t sent me to a life of wilderness living like these Israelites.
I want to do better.
I know I can do better. My desire is to never grumble about anything, ever again. That’s a tall order, and I know better to think me writing those words will magically change my heart. They won’t. But I know God can change me. He can change my grumbling into gratefulness. That’s my desire.
And if this is your desire also, God can change your heart too.
Because for those of us who love Jesus and follow God’s ways, we trust in God’s presence, peace, and provision in our lives. God loves us so much, He gives us what is best for us. To grow us, for the good of others, and for His glory. Why do we think we should grumble about any part of our lives?
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT
God doesn’t deserve our grumbling. He deserves our gratefulness.
So, this has been my prayer since yesterday: “God, stop me before I grumble and help me to always be grateful.” You’re welcome to pray this for yourself as well. We may not be able to stop grumbling on our own, but with God’s help we can!
May thanksgiving be our way of life, today and every day!
God bless you!
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