Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 27, 2015

January 27, 2015 “Suck It Up!”

“Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)

Good Morning Fellow Saints!

My dad used to tell a story (the veracity of which I cannot verify, but it is a good story nonetheless), about a time he was at a dinner that was being served family style. On the menu were some nice steaks. According to my dad’s telling of the story, he and another gentleman were at the end of the table as the steaks were being passed around. Left on the plate were two steaks- one nice, juicy and a pretty good size. The other was a bit overdone and somewhat on the small side. As the steaks came their way, dad took the more appetizing of the remaining steaks. The last gentlemen was a bit incensed and remarked sarcastically to my dad, “Well I see you picked the better one for yourself. Thanks a lot.” My dad replied, “Well which one would you have chosen.?” The disgruntled man replied, “I would have been nice and picked the smaller one.” So dad said to him, “Well you got the one you would have chosen, so why are you complaining?” 

Looking at my own life, I realize I have done quite a bit of unnecessary complaining. I have complained about below par service at a restaurant…I have complained about sub standard accommodations at some motel…I have complained about the high cost of something I have purchased…I have complained about the fact that my brother or sister got to do something I did not get to do…I have complained when my GPS takes me in a direction I did not want to go…I have complained about people that complain too much! Can any of you relate to this? We live in the United States of America…the richest, most prosperous nation on earth, and we complain about something or other virtually every day, and most likely multiple times a day. ‘

Now I believe that were we in the apostle Paul’s situation, we would rightly have reason to complain. He was imprisoned…he was shipwrecked…he was stoned…he was beaten with rods…he was beaten with the lash…he was bitten by a poisonous snake…he was ridiculed and mistrusted…all for the sake of the proclamation of the Gospel. Yet he writes these words to the Philippians:  “Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content.” Really, now…what is there for us to complain about? Once when I was on one of my “complaint binges”, I happened to see a bumper sticker on the care in front of me that said “Suck It Up!” I took it as a message from God, and stopped bellyaching. The great “Prince of Preachers”, Charles Spurgeon left us this thought:

“As long as a man is alive and out of hell, he cannot have any cause to complain.”   

Putting life into perspective simply like that speaks volumes. Just as Paul learned contentment in every situation, we are wise to consider that reality spelled out so succinctly by Spurgeon. I’m alive. My body, soul, and spirit are intact. I am a redeemed Child of the King. My salvation is assured as I live in Christ. I have absolutely no cause to complain, for there is no worldly charm, no bigger piece of steak, nothing I can ever begin to imagine or desire greater than that knowledge. Praise be to God…He is all I need! Let’s pray!

Infinite and Eternal God; I come before You this day with nothing to offer but my eternal praise and thanksgiving for the gift of Your eternal love and mercy. I am content in the knowledge that nothing can separate me from that matchless grace, and make my prayer in the blessed name of Your Only-begotten Son, Jesus my Lord. Amen!

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