A Bellyaching Bucket
I’ve mentioned it a few times recently, but I keep thinking about it, I keep having opportunities to try it, and I keep thinking that it could really work.
What I’m about to say connects with the image used in Revelation 1 for the churches. The image that Jesus uses for the churches is a lampstand, a light giver. Jesus told His disciples that they were the light of the world, and collectively our light should shine brighter.
How do we give off light? I suppose it is somewhat verbal, especially when we have opportunity to name names for why we do what we do. We believe in and love and live for Jesus Christ the Lord. But the light is also behavior; the light of life should be visible. Look at the light.
In Philippians Paul exhorted the Christians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, reminding them that God was working in them, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (2:12-13). What does His good pleasure look like in conduct?
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (2:14-15)
If you want to live straight among the crooked, don’t bicker about everything. If you want to be pure, give thanks. That’s the opposite of “grumbling,” which is a muttering (in Greek goggusmos, an onomatopoetic word that sounds like what it refers to) of disappointment and dissatisfaction. Paul identifies the no-complaint zone: this “twisted generation.” So your context for complaining is covered.
Do people grumble about their spouse? Their kids? Their job? Their government? Their president? Their age? Their future? They do, and we should not. We are the light of the world, so don’t put a bellyaching bucket over your light.