“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV2)
When we arrived at our hotel in Villedieu-les-Poèles, France we noticed that the hotel’s private parking garage was completely full. Despite the fact that we had reserved a spot six months earlier, the only space left was in the laneway. Parking there would block the way so that every other car parked in the garage would be unable to leave.
The manager was quite helpful: “What time are you planning to leave the premises tomorrow morning?”
“Around 7:30,” was my response.
“No one else will be leaving that early tomorrow, as stores in our country do not open until 9 a.m. Park in the laneway and don’t worry about it, all will be fine!”
We did as we told, but as soon as we had parked the car and were unloading our luggage, an elderly British couple walked up to us. We could see that they were quite concerned.
“At what time are you planning to leave tomorrow morning?” asked the woman in broken French.
Strange! Hadn’t we just heard that question?
When they discovered our get up with the rooster plans, and also that we spoke English, they relaxed and we began chatting amiably. We made some new friends that evening, but it could have been a completely different scenario!
How easy it is for all of us to grumble and complain. I’m no better! I was ready to strangle the hotel manager for not honoring our parking reservation! Grrr! I called this tendency “the enemy within us”. Interestingly, if we take the time afterwards, we can’t help but giggle at our own follies.
The just-freed Israelites were no better: “All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!” (Numbers 14:2, NIV2)
What caused such an attitude?
Twelve spies had been sent to explore the Promised Land, and ten of them came back shaking in their boots. To them, it would be impossible to conquer the land!
But Caleb and Joshua had no doubts that taking the land would be a piece of cake.
Who did the Israelites believe? The ten negative spies!
God had promised them the moon, but they would rather trust in their own strength, which seemed to be non-existent at that particular moment in time.
“The LORD said to Moses, ‘How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them?’” (Numbers 14:11, NIV2)
Sadly for all of us, grumbling is a kind of rebellion against God, who promises us to be our guide in all things! How easy it is to miss the Promised Land with a defeatist attitude!
Maybe there is a lesson in this… Do we really have anything to worry about? We are nothing like them!
“Who dared take my parking spot! Grrrr.”
Or maybe we are.
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)