I've thought for a long time that one of the things we Christians need to get over is the belief that the New Testament Christians were somehow more holy or inherently closer to God than we are. However, in the verse above, the Apostle Paul, writer of the pastoral letter to the Philippian Church, exhorted the group to "knock off the griping and complaining" and do what needed to be done. Apparently, many of the Christian folks 2,000 years ago were essentially the same as many of us --- too quick to gripe and too slow to get to work! Far from being icons of perfection, they were ordinary people who struggled in their Christian faith with the temptations and human frailties common to all of us. The human saga continues --- even for us Christians.
As the summer effectively ends this Labor Day weekend, our schools have begun, our wallets are strained, and much work remains to be done. We are all tempted to gripe, gripe, gripe. While some people dismiss this as harmlessly "letting off steam," it does have a way of compounding the misery of mistakes, misunderstandings, and sheer hard work. In the long haul, though, griping proves to be counter-productive. It's like shooting "bird shot" from a shotgun at a high flying aircraft --- it makes a big bang, it appears to be using energy, but it cannot really address the problem at hand. THAT takes thought, persuasion, and concrete actions!
There's more than an even chance that into your life this week will come things that infuriate you or frustrate you. Don't waste time griping on and on about them. Do what you can to change or improve things. If that isn't possible, put your energy into a new direction toward something you CAN affect! And while you are doing all that, don't forget to PRAY! God has the most amazing way of being involved in our lives in ways that are --- for the moment --- undetected. Hang in there, though, and let God do His work. You'll be surprised at the results!