“They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” (Luke 7:32-35,MSG)
After a tough, long and cold winter, Spring was finally starting to show signs of arriving. Then we had a day where the temperatures spiked to 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit). Interestingly enough, most people I encountered were not thankful for this turn in events. Instead they complained that it was too hot!
A janitor was quick to remind them: “Remember last winter? Remember the cold? Do we have any reason to complain?”
And sure enough, the temperatures dropped back to the low teens by the next day.
No matter where I have travelled, I have always encountered all kinds of complaints. It seems to me that whenever we cannot be completely in control of things, be it the weather, the temperature, or changes of events, we cannot help but complain. So often we forget what is most important in life. If we only could focus on that, the highs and lows of events would leave us unfazed.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:14-15, NIV)
In the town of Saro, Sweden, something really strange happened. An elk was attracted to an apple tree. Those apples sure looked delicious, and he decided to eat them. He didn’t know that the apples were fermented, and it wasn’t long before the elk was in a drunken state. Soon he was so drunk that he found himself stuck in the apple tree. The more he fought against the tree, the more stuck he became. Even though he kicked wildly to free himself, he remained stuck.
I can imagine what he must have been thinking: “First these humans made these apples taste weird, and now their trees are built in a shape that would tangle any elk! How dare they!”
But then, adversity is always an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it is an elk. The “evil” humans came to his rescue, avoiding at all cost the flailing hooves of that huge, drunken beast. Their only option was to bend the tree so that the animal could slide safely to the ground.
Instead of complaining, may we always look out for opportunities to shine in the name of our loving Father, ever seeking ways to make a difference in people’s lives. After all, if someone is complaining, isn’t it because that person is truly unhappy? Imagine the impact we could have to brighten that person’s day!
“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5, MSG)
Who ate from my apple tree? And why is it so crooked?