Don’t Grumble, Be Humble

Tell the people: Consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow, when you will eat meat. The Lord heard you when you wailed, “If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!” Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”

Numbers 11:18-20

A few days ago, my husband and his sister were finishing up some of their mother’s paperwork, looking at family pictures, and separating some of her personal items. He happened upon one photo of a family member and laughed about some of her ways. He said, “She loved talking with people, especially local strangers, trying to make the newly found person a cousin. Family was important to her.” He added, “But boy she knew how to complain, she turned it into an art form.”

Oddly enough, even with a “grumbling” family foundation, her son would grow up humble and kind, rarely demonstrating disappointment in his daily walk. From personal experience, just being around grumbling can suck you into a complaining vortex, and within minutes you are complaining too!

The Internet has certainly made looking up words, and definitions, much more convenient, but sometimes I like to look things up the old fashion way in the Webster’s Student Dictionary. After all, aren’t we students on a journey? As it happens, looking up grumble opened several family traits on the same page, and they could almost be cousins in the grouchy family. There was grubby, grudge, grueling, gruesome, gruff, and grumpy. Further down the page is the word grunt. Not exactly words used for the Fruits of the Spirit.

In contrast, the page with humble included humane, humanitarian, humanize, and humdinger. Granted, humid was also on the page, and that word can certainly be humbling in August. Some of the characteristics of humbleness are modesty, meekness, selfless, unassuming, and even, submissive. In the high self-esteem, look at me society, these traits are considered symptoms of failure, and opportunities to suppress. But what about in God’s point of view?

Grumbling indicates an unhealthy, serious spiritual condition. It demonstrates ungratefulness and an attitude of entitlement. It also diminishes the blessings God has bestowed. When you get down to bare-bones reality, grumbling is like the grunting hog. “What, I have to work this many hours just to pay my bills?!” Truth be told, pride is the next of kin to a grumbling heart. Seeing yourself deserving more because it’s you, and you deserve more!

The saga of the exodus from Egypt has a happy ending, but for only two of the original sojourners. The group mindset grumbling took its toll on the people and eventually separated them from the Promised Land. God keeps his promises, but his warnings to the people were not taken seriously.

We are much like the Children of Israel, taking for granted daily miracles, and disregarding warning signs on every corner. We can barely carry on a serious conversation on an important subject without an emotional “grunt” from some offended party. And even the Church is nervous calling sin what it is, SIN. We just aren’t taking God’s warnings seriously.

In Micah 6:8 we read, He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

As in all things, Jesus is our perfect example of humility, and while we will not be perfect until we get to our Heavenly Home, we can follow His made for earth moments. In John 13:3-5 we see humility on full display.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

It is hard to imagine how dirty their feet would have been. They walked everywhere in sandals or bare feet, with every kind of ugly stinky mess stuck between their toes. Peter understood how dirty and repulsive this would be, telling Jesus, “You can’t wash my feet!” But of course, Jesus insisted, and Peter relented.

Jesus was showing us that loving others can be a dirty, difficult, even demoralizing, business. Whether dealing with the addicted, helping the homeless, changing a parents’ diaper, or parenting screaming teenagers who just told you they hate you, loving others takes a selfless humble attitude; A willingness to set personal position aside for the love of the other person.

Pastor David Jeremiah tells the story about the Titanic. There were five classes of people who started the journey, the political, the wealthy, the Royalty, the service class, and crew. At the end of the journey there were only two classes, the saved and the lost.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

God does not want make-believe, or mysterious second cousins, He wants you to be part of His family, and heirs to His Kingdom.

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