“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world!” - Mathew 5:13-16 (NIV).
For those who had the experience of going through boarding schools in the 1970s, as this writer, there was a lot to complain about. The food was gross and the teachers perfected corporal punishment just for poor grades. Times have changed and today most boarding schools in Uganda offer four square meals: breakfast, break tea, lunch, evening tea and supper. Corporal punishment is prohibited. But do you think people ever stopped complaining!
Finding something to complain about can be for a good reason. In the early church, a complaint arose where, “Hellenestic Jews among them complained against Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food” (Acts 6:1).This was a complaint about good governance that led to a profitable solution. The Apostles once they heard, sat down and came up with a meaningful solution. “It will not be right for us to neglect the ministry of word in order to wait on table,” (vv 2). “Brothers and sisters choose seven men from among you…We will turn this responsibility to them..” (vv 3).
We can imagine that the solution worked for the matter disappeared. There are things around us worthy for us to raise complaints. Any tax payer should be concerned when public funds are abused through corruption to benefit a few. If one notices abuse either in school of the weak or at the work place by those in power and authority a complaint should be lodged. Of course complaints can upset the powers that be. But it is a Christian duty to fight for God’s righteousness, for “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
While raising genuine complaints is to be emulated, Christians though should be wary of having a complaining spirit, one which constantly finds something to complain about as a way of life. There are those of us who will never fail to find something to raise an issue, and what is more, we are not interested in looking for solutions as the early church but just airing out our grievances. This is nothing but a quarrelsome spirit, which we are warned against, “ And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24).
If there is a matter of concern around you, at home or in your community, please do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the powers that be. It is expected of you as the “salt and light” of earth. But at the same time do not make it a lifestyle of yours going about picking up issues to picket against. There you may be sliding into an unproductive career complainer!
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, where I see matters that grieve you and dishonor your children, help me bring such to the attention of the concerned, but also may I find things to praise for there is a lot more so, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!