Today’s Rightful Complaint – “People Are Not Thankful Yaar!”

Ok, so we all complain.

This post expresses, in the author’s opinion, complaints that could occur in any given Marg family member’s head at some point in their life-time. And what could be done when such thoughts do come.

“You see, no one can do this task of serving the church all the time, all by themselves. Why do these folks complain about problems in our church when they DON’T move ONE finger to help me! I am tired, you know? ”

“I come here every week, I do these tasks.. and no one has ever, EVER, said “Thank you”. Instead, I receive whims, corrections and tantrums. God let them have loose-motions!”

“All these years, I have been investing so much in these guys’ lives and .. man, this is like zero fruit! Are they even serious about honouring God or what…?”

MMRC_No one_thankful

It’s true- Christians can be thankless.
Followers of Jesus Christ have been thankless. And not just to other people, but to the Lord Jesus too.
Let’s face it – Did everyone reading this post wake up today morning, profusely thanking God, bleeding tears of joy for this day, fully meaning it from our hearts? What about yesterday?

What about all of our lives?

“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Romans 1:21, ESV

If we could be honest, we are guilty of thanklessness, one of the sins that brings down God’s wrath on unrighteousness. Like Lecrae sings, “But your word says we all fall short so I guess we all outta burn ”.

So, we who are immensely hurt by others’ thanklessness eventually face a problem of Biblical proportions – we have judged others of the very sins we are guilty of (Rom 2:1,2).

2. REMEMBER Him who was punished for our thanklessness.
There is a Man who has not just faced most of our thanklessness, but who also bore all of the terrifying wrath God pours out against this sin of ours. He is Jesus, the Son of God himself, the friend of sinners. If your church family and you trust in His work of forgiveness and righteousness, then He is your friend too!
We may be immensely comforted by remembering that He did not just pay for our current thanklessness but our future times of thanklessness too. Can we even begin to compare our rebellious and complaining behaviour against the King of all, with what others have done against us?

Uncle Koshy, one of our former elders, gave this exhortation at one of our gatherings, “When you serve in the church, remember you are not doing anyone any favors”.

That one hit me like a wrecking ball hits a jumping cat.


Photo Credit – mate2code, via Wikimedia Commons, CC

Isn’t it so true? Who are we kidding?
Serving is about Jesus, this is His church – this is not yours, not mine and certainly not the pastor’s church. As the Bible reminds us – “we are unprofitable servants”. Let us bow down and repent where we have been proud and seeking what is “rightful”.

3. Speak the truth in LOVE.
Does all this mean we can’t address fellow believers who are coming just to be served or who have only complaints, no helping hands?
No, Jesus commands us to address sin.

In fact, this complaint usually arises when we don’t take an early step and speak to those who may have offended us.

But we must speak the truth in love, or else risk being as guilty as the brothers or sisters we are trying to help.
When we speak, we remember how Jesus spoke to the adulterous Samaritan woman, how kind He was.

He showed us that same kindness and didn’t punish us, so let us speak to our erring brothers, remembering they are God’s sheep, and need our loving rebuke, not our whacks.
Let us rejoice in the mighty opportunity that we have to serve the church. Yes when we face thanklessness , we will get tired of “that sin of theirs”, but let us not become weary –

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.
So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.
Galatians 6:8-10, NLT

Is that not what Jesus did for us – good, eternal good at the cross?

Have you faced thankless behavior from your church members?
From your pastor? From your small group?

From your colleagues?
What did you do to deal with it?

Do make your thoughts known in the comments below, so we can learn together.

Additional Resources – Check out this great piece on messy churches.

An unworthy son before his Father-II

This is the second part of the post from two weeks ago, which showed us two things –

1) Followers of Jesus Christ look for cheap imitations of love in the wrong places when they neglect to dwell upon God’s immense love for them.
2) The repentant sinner returning to God the Father, has failed to find happiness in the things he or she treasured apart from Christ.

Remember the picture of the wayward son, wasted and finally walking home, dreading the moment when he would meet his dad?

You know, here is dismay. This is the worst kind of letdown, when you let yourself down. Doesn’t that happen every time we fool ourselves by embracing what we know our dear heavenly Father hates?


Photo Credit – Graziano Turesso, CC

You wish you were never here. You don’t wanna pray because your prayers seem pretty much useless. You are alive, but what is the point? You have battled this problem for the 980th time.
You are a Christ-follower. But will not God hate you for what you have done?

At least you know you hate yourself.

If this describes the condition of the wayward son returning to his Father, do you remember the Father’s response in Jesus’ story?

He came running, falls on his son, hugs him and kisses him all over! What on earth?

What does Jesus mean when he gives us this expression of unbelievable love? Boggles you? Maybe the wayward son was given that kind of welcome, but not you? Here are words from Charles Spurgeon, on the heavenly Father –

What a sight for a father’s eye! He is filthy, as though he had been rolling in the mire; and his beautiful clothing has long ago lost its fine colors, and hangs about him in wretched rags. The father does not turn away and try to forget him, he fixes his full gaze upon him.
Sinner, you know that God sees you this morning; sitting in this house you are observed of the God of heaven. There is not a desire in your heart unread of Him, nor a tear in your eye which He does not observe.

I tell you He has seen your midnight sins, He has heard your cursings and your blasphemies, and yet He has loved you notwithstanding all that you have done. You could hardly have been a worse rebel against Him, and yet He has noted you in His book of love, and determined to save you, and the eye of His love has followed you whithersoever you have gone. ”1

Spurgeon goes on to explain that “God will never give a Judas-kiss, and betray those whom He embraces. There is no hypocrisy with God; He never kisses those for whom He has no love.”2

You see, God’s love never stopped toward you. You are DEEPLY LOVED in Christ, even when you are in sin, dear Christian. And why is that?

Is it not because of that cross where Jesus died for your sins? Is that not where you placed your hopes of new and true life? Thank God you are not abandoned because of Jesus’ death on your behalf! Thank God there is new life, right in the midst of your sin!

Further, “this much kissing meant MUCH FORGIVENESS. The prodigal had many sins to confess; but before he came to the details of them, his father had forgiven him…some suppose that after we are forgiven we are never to confess; but, oh, beloved, it is then that we confess most truly, because we know the guilt of sin most really!”3

That’s right. Open up, let us speak to our Lord. Speak your sins to Christ!
Let us renounce these cheap imitations that hold residence deep inside and go Homeward-bound, begging for true change.

Oh, blessed words!  “He has determined to save you”!

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” – Romans 2:4, New Living Translation.

1,2,3 –

An unworthy son before his Father-I

He said,“You are looking for love in the wrong places maybe because you are living daily without experiencing God’s great love for you.”

I looked at him and replied, “Man.. I have done so many terrible sins these last few months. After all these years. Why would our God love me? I have sinned SO much- over and over…”

He looked sad.. and yet his eyes twinkled.
“God loves you immensely. There is no love you can experience like His. I can’t explain why He loves you bro. That is God. That is His love”.

This is part of a conversation that happened between a brother in Christ and me at Marg a few weeks ago. The point is that when Christians experience God’s sacrificial and gracious love deeply, as it really is, they would not easily look for cheap replacements that today’s world calls love.

To use a parallel from food- once you know you have all the access to tender, home-made south Indian idlis, you wouldn’t really want to have the rubber-textured idlis at your college hostel.

There is a story Jesus told people when he was on earth. It is the story of a father who had two sons. The younger son arrogantly takes his share of his father’s inheritance and leaves home to have fun -or what he thought was fun. He ends up penniless and hungry and realising his folly, makes up his mind to return to his father, if only to be a servant at his own home.


 Photo credit - Abri le Roux, CC

And he walks up that old road, not sure what to expect. As he walks up to his house, he is seen by his father, who breaks into a sprint to meet him, hugs and kisses him all over, while calling out to servants to clothe and feed him with the best.

The younger son can’t believe this; neither can the older son who too, shows his arrogance. He is mad that their father has welcomed his sinful, loser brother!
One of the parallels Jesus was drawing here, was that the Father is God and the wayward son is the penitent sinner who comes for mercy.

Why am I writing all this here?
After the talk with my brother and then going through some sermons by Charles Spurgeon, I began to see two important aspects of the story.
1) The condition of the son returning to his father.
2) The meaning of the Father’s response.

The wayward son’s condition can hardly be put in words better than Charles Spurgeon’s-
There he is! He is as wretched as misery itself; as filthy as his brute associates who could satisfy themselves with husks, while he could not. His clothes hang about him in rags, and what he is without, that he is within.” 1

He found “happiness” that ended in dismay.
Is that not how I feel when I give in to sin’s “pleasures”, only to deceive myself?
Can you identify with this state?

You might be a person who has other gods, or maybe no gods. To you, Christ’s sacrifice may mean little, but that is the price God, the creator of heaven and earth, paid – his Son’s death for your forgiveness. If you will but throw yourself at Him, begging, pleading, looking to that cross where Jesus was, won’t you be claimed by God as his beloved child?

Maybe you are a follower of Christ already. Maybe you have not talked to your Lord in weeks or months, maybe like me your appetite for the things Jesus loves – God’s family, God’s Word, God’s mission- has waned like a lamp dying out.
Do you think it is all over for you?

REMEMBER the wayward son- he turned, he turned around and now was walking to his Father’s house!
Thank God, he remembered his Father’s house!

My sins, my sins, my Saviour,
How sad on Thee they fall!
Seen through Thy gentle patience,
I tenfold feel them all.

Next week– What the Father’s kisses for the wayward son meant.