Well, the sun has come out at last. We are (at least for our British thermostats) experiencing something of a hot streak. And guess what all the British people who last week were bemoaning the lack of sun are doing right now? That’s right, complaining it is too hot!
We are a fickle people. An American friend once told me that they could never understand why British people went on about the weather so much until they came here and realised its because it changes so ludicrously frequently. But along with our penchant for going on about the weather, there is nothing we like more than whining about it. It’s either too hot or too cold and rarely are we satisfied even when it is middling, often found to be griping that it’s a bit mild.
Bill Bailey once said that British people crave disappointment. Which I think is about right. And it is so easy to be disappointed by the weather if you simultaneously crave the sun but dislike the heat because you are used to it being mild and grey. It means, whatever the weather, we can be happily disappointed. It is either sunny and too hot or mild and overcast. Rarely is it ever sunny and tepid, warm but not too warm. So we can be continually disappointed all the time, and therefore happy in our disappointment.
That cultural trait also exists in the church. We are often quick to complain that things are not as we would have them, not what we hope they would be, yet we often don’t like when we get what we want either. We are frequently disappointed and wont to complain as such.
Sadly, such has it ever been. The early books of the Bible are replete with complainers. Complaining about suffering in Egypt, complaining about rescue from Egypt, complaining about what their leaders are doing and complaining about what their leaders did not do. As the Bible progresses, the grumbling doesn’t get much better either. Sadly, with the dawn of the New Covenant era, grumbling and complaining didn’t disappear and it gets name-checked as an ongoing concern in the New Testament churches. There is something in us that craves disappointment and then enjoys complaining about it.
But the Lord Jesus came to give us rest. Or, to put it in modern parlance, to give us a break. A break from law-keeping, yes, but a break from the constant need to complain too. For what have we to complain about in Christ? Scriptures tells us he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Our sin has been forgiven, we have been adopted as sons in Christ, we have an eternal inheritance that is incorruptible. Surely, if ever we had no need to complain, Jesus removes all such reason. Even if we are prone to moan about the weather, scripture calls both rain and sun a blessing from God. A blessing he bestows on the believers and unbeliever alike.
If we are prone to grumbling and complaining it is because we are not fully content with Christ. But if we are not fully content with Christ then we will never be pleased. If we are not content with every spiritual blessing nor the knowledge that one day we will inherit the earth and the fullness thereof (which belongs to Christ and will be shared with us in him) then what can possibly content us? Our grumbling and complaining problem is a sign that we are not content with Jesus. If not content in him, never content and destined for ultimate disappointment apart from him.
The sun and the rain are blessings from God for which we should give thanks. Spiritual and material blessings from God are grounds to give thanks. Life and health and food and clothing are all blessings from God. The old hymn that called on us to count your blessings name them one by one is a twee, but genuinely excellent, solution to our discontentment. Remember all the blessings that are yours in Christ. Remember all the blessings he gives to you daily. Remember his goodness, focus upon his grace, remind yourself of his great pleasure in you as his son. Rather than reel off complaints, count your blessings and you will find greater contentment in Christ.