No Joy In Complaining

A reading for Tuesday, May 26, 2015: Luke 15:1-10.

Most of the time we focus on the task at hand. In this case, Jesus reminds the complainers that each of them would do the same. If a single sheep was lost, or even just one coin, would we not stop everything else we are doing in order to find it? So we should assume that God would do the same... Jesus came to seek out and save the lost. This is the task, and Jesus says God is all about such a task.

But look again and notice the role of the community. Perhaps this is the part missing in those that are complaining. In both stories, Jesus says the one who finds what was lost returns to their community and "calls together his friends and neighbors" to celebrate. "Rejoice with me for what was lost has been found!"

God is the one tasked to seek out and save the lost. You and I are part of the community called to participate in that salvation, but more to celebrate what God is doing. "Rejoice in the Lord, again I say rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4)

I wonder if we get so focused on the task at hand, maybe even mistakenly concluding that we are the ones doing the saving, that we miss the rest of what we are called to do. The Christian life is one of joy and celebration, not one of complaining and whining. Those that spend all their time complaining and whining won't have any friends to call together to celebrate.

This is not exactly the same thing as what causes our polarization in the church, but they are cousins, and so make sure you read a great column by Clay Stauffer in The Tennessean about what divides us.


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