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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Believers should dwell on good and virtuous things

Friday, March 23, 2012

He's a professional baseball player with an X-rated mouth, but hopefully his words will soon be G-rated.

This spring training my 10-year old grandson, Drake, accompanied his dad (my son Adam), to Florida where he was allowed to hang out with the Washington Nationals baseball team. Somehow it was determined that Drake should earn 25 cents each time he caught his dad's teammate using profanity. When Drake got home after his first day of the competition, he showed a $10 bill to his mother who asked if that all had come from serving as someone's guilty conscience.

"No," Drake told her. "Five dollars was for him cussing and the other five was what he paid me to not follow him around so much."

My inadequacy is not profanity, but I wonder which single iniquity I would focus on and how much it would cost me if I had a "Drake" to trail me for a week, spying on my every move. There are several shortcomings from which to choose -- cynical thoughts, pride, judgmentalism, over-spending on clothes I don't need, perhaps being selfish with my time. But those wouldn't be the biggee. My most recent violation would have to be my most critical vice:

Complaining. That's become my problem. Nothing too huge. Little gripes. Like today, when I went to the grocery store. It was just small talk with the cashier --you know, conversation about the unseasonably mild winter we've had. But then the words just slipped out, sort of like a greased pig in the hands of a clumsy rodeo contestant.

"Sure hope it lasts," I added. (Not that bad, I told myself in hindsight.) "But we all know there are no guarantees."

Now why did I have to add that last part? Things were rolling along quite nicely until that negative comment which certainly didn't make either one of us smile. The minute it came out of my mouth I wanted to turn and apologize, to ask her forgiveness for adding my whiney comment. Okay, okay, I say I wanted to, but obviously I didn't want to too badly because ... well, I didn't.

The Bible teaches all believers to dwell upon the "good and virtuous" things (Phil. 4:8). So if all Christians obeyed this scripture, what would they find to belly-ache about?

Complaining is always an expression of unbelief toward God's order in our life. You see, the whole premise of Christianity is that Jesus becomes the Lord (boss) of our life and our circumstances, so if believers complain, it really becomes an accusation against our Lord in whom we've trusted our lives. Perhaps your struggle is not with grumbling, but ask yourself this question: What would be the one misbehavior that would be costly to you, should you have a little Drake trailing you, forcing you to give up cash every time you do a misdeed?

Would losing a quarter every time you were caught be sufficient to make you stop, would you simply quit the contest, or would you gripe about the little pest lurking around, waiting for you to mess up? I'm not sure which I'd select, but hopefully, after this latest grocery store incident, it would be the first option.

Like I said, hopefully.

Patty LaRoche
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