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.
1. THE COMPLAINT
“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…?”
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.