by Sarah Nelson
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” Phil 2:14-16 (ESV)
It’s a small word, the word, all. Yet it is so enormous in it’s meaning. It’s a tiny word with a big challenge. The above passage encourages us to do ALL things without grumbling or disputing. What a tall order. An order that even with the best of intentions I fail at daily. It’s easy enough to not grumble when I’m doing what I love, such as reading, writing, or enjoying a good latte. Switch me over to picking up dirty laundry for the umpteenth time, or re-organizing the fridge that I just had made neat and tidy the day before, and well, I’ll admit it – grumble. If I’m not careful, that grumbling quickly carries over to disputing with my family members about whose dirty socks were left on the table and who made the decision to put lettuce in the fruit drawer. Such small things that make grumbling all too easy.
Are we not to grumble or argue simply for our own benefit? No. The exhortation carries far more purpose than that. Our lack of murmuring, whining,and arguing about personal preference, ultimately serves to shine God’s grace in and through our lives to a culture and people desperately in need of God’s truth and love. Does this mean we will never trip up in our desire to live peaceful, contented, and joyful lives among a lost world? No. The good news is that Christ’s forgiveness is ready and waiting for us every moment of the day. When we do “lose it” as we live out our lives, it is so important that we admit our wrong, ask for forgiveness from those whom we have hurt with our grumbling and disputing, and continue on living in God’s grace.
May I encourage you as you prepare for summer happenings to commit these verses to memory? As we plan VBS weeks for our churches, perhaps attend family reunions, or receive guests into our homes, let’s be sincerely thankful for all of the moments – the ones that go as planned, and the ones that do not. May our actions and our reactions reflect the peace and joy found in Jesus, the One who gave His ALL.