The following article is by Cleon Lyles and originally appeared in “Just a Moment” in March 1962. But it’s just as relevant today as it was then – I encourage you to think about it. – BP
Every person can be what God wants him to be and do what God wants him to do. How few ever realize this to the fullest! It is not because there is something wrong with us. Recently I read this statement:
Opportunity still knocks for those who are not too busy complaining to listen.
Are you a complainer? It is easy to become one without realizing it. Usually such a condition comes because we are not satisfied with what we are and are unwilling to do anything about it. It causes us to search for someone to blame for our own failures. We find ourselves running from one person to another, and one place to another, but always unable to find satisfaction. People just do not enjoy listening to us complain.
I knew a lady once who evidently had done much graduate work in complaining. She was a member of the Lord’s family but never got any pleasure from her association with God or God’s people. When she managed to come to worship the expression on her face revealed unhappiness that had lingered so long it had left its tracks on her expression which could never be erased. She never found happiness in people or places. No one could measure up to her expectation. She filled her conversation so full of complaints about others, or about life in general, that people were prone to run from her. This she interpreted as being something wrong with them instead of her. She had an answer for every weakness and every failure which she experienced, and the answer always blamed someone else. She found no happiness in her work. Her hours at home seemed to be endless monotony. So long as people would listen to her constant flow of complaints she remained with them, but when they grew tired of a steady diet of bitterness she decided they were not Christian and she went in search of another group to whom she might complain about the former group. These new found listeners were genuine because they listened. Of course the day was not far off when everything must be repeated over again because they, too, would soon become tired of hearing nothing but complaints.
I often thought of what that person could have been. She had not lacked opportunities to be worth much to the cause of Christ, and to people with whom she associated. From her youth she had known Christ and yet I could not help but wonder if she had ever known him at all. He would not develop such an attitude in one who really walked with him. He had more to complain about than any person who ever walked on the earth, and yet he was one of the happiest people who ever lived. One of his first acts, after meeting Satan and withstanding his temptations, was to teach his disciples how to be happy. He taught them to be concerned about others more than about themselves. He taught them a selfless love that reached far in the direction of those who were in trouble. He even taught them that they should receive joy in their sufferings, if such came as a result of serving him. And they did find that joy. They “rejoiced that they were counted worthy of suffering for Christ.”
Perhaps, then a person with such an attitude has never really walked close to Christ at all. But had it been true, this person could have been a teacher of others. She could have scattered sunshine everywhere she went. She could have been so busy carrying the burdens of others that she would forget her own. But instead her thought turned inward, the glow of life faded, and every step became a dreary mile in a darkened path which could have been bathed with sunshine. Opportunity knocks, but our complaints drown the sound of the knocking and we really never know life at its best. What a pity to be in the midst of such blessings and yet never be able to enjoy them.