A Devotional Thought
by Pastor Phil Sommerville
The following are actual complaints received by the Thomas Cook Vacations travel company from some of their customers:
“I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
“It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”
“On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”
“We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels.”
“The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”
“We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”
While these are humorous, the reality is that we all can get into a grumpy mood and start complaining. I’m writing this devotional because I’m in a grumpy mood.
I’m weary from staying at home, weary of all the extra precautions, weary that COVID-19 will be a threat for months and months to come. I’m weary of the news, weary that we have not come farther as a nation in eliminating prejudice and racism, weary that anger, violence, bullying, and name calling have become the accepted norm.
I’m in a grumpy mood. Maybe you are as well.
So, I am writing this devotional to myself, and letting you look over my shoulder.
You know what strikes me about the above complaints to the travel company? How amazingly self-focused they are. When you are complaining about the inconvenience of the beach having sand…good grief.
When I get grumpy, it’s usually because I’ve made my life about ME, and about how everything is affecting ME. I want to scream, “Stop making MY life so difficult.”
I have lost my concern, compassion and love for others AND I’ve lost my sense of a greater purpose and a greater mission that God has called me to join.
One day Jesus’ disciples were grumpy. They were upset with James and John, because they wanted to be seated at the places of greatest honor next to Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus responds by saying,
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
I wonder how many times I will need to read those verses before they really sink in and become who I am naturally?
I have to keep telling myself, it’s not about the kingdom of Phil. It’s not about getting recognition. It’s not about my being comfortable. It’s not about getting everyone to agree with me (which would make my life easier). It’s about JESUS!
It’s about following Jesus with all of my heart, mind and strength. It’s about loving other’s as I love myself, as Jesus loves them and gave his life as a ransom for them. It’s about seeking and saving the lost because while my destiny is secure, their destiny is not.
I get grumpy when I become self-focused and I get self-focused when I lose sight of my mission and calling. So, I declare:
“I am a disciple of Jesus!"
"I am a ‘light of the world!’"
"I am an ‘ambassador of Christ!’"
"I am called to share the good news!”
When my focus is on Christ, and on the mission of making Christ known to people he loves so much he died for them, then the things I feel like complaining about don’t seem so important anymore, certainly not important enough to make me grumpy.
I’m starting to feel better already. How about you?