"Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 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, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain."
It was so frustrating for me --- God gifted us with a beautiful day which was perfect for these tasks. It was beautiful -- the yard, strewn with so many rich warm colors that will in turn be used to nourish the soil on which we will grow our summer's bounty. Rakes and wagons were working in harmony with strong backs and able arms. This little piece of land that God gifted to us just a few short months ago, filled to the brim with Autumnal splendor. His Masterpiece, shining in the sunshine, under a clear blue sky.
1 Peter 4:9
"Show hospitality to one another without grumbling."
The grumbles of our Cherubs spurred my memory. You see, many years ago when we had only 3 children under 3yo, I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. And it was then that I got into a horrible habit. I too was grumbling about some mundane task set before me ... dishes ... or laundry ... sweeping ... a yard in sore need of attention ... or something. I was complaining and was resentful of most tasks during this time. And it was during one of my grumble sessions that a lovely older lady (friend) shared a precious bit of wisdom with me which I have carried to this day. She said, "You can set about these tasks with grumbles and complaints. Or you can give them to God, recognizing these jobs as a blessing rather than a curse, because it is in doing these small things with a servants heart, as a wife and mother, that you give Glory to God." She shared with me how, for example, as she scraped leftover food from plates to be washed into the trashcans, she gave Thanks to God for plentiful food enough that scraps were left behind. She praised God for the plates on which it was served, for the kitchen and running clean water with which to clean them. She asked God to strengthen the bodies that consumed the meal while cooking or cleaning up. While doing laundry, she thanked God for the grass stains or garden dirt on the clothing and for the healthy bodies of her family - thankful that they had energy enough to work or play, and that their yard was a safe place in which her children could play. She thanked God for the glorious plot of land which they called their home, and the four walls that protected them from the elements. As she folded or mended the clothing of each member of her family, she prayed specifically for that person, lifting them into Our Father's hands.
At that moment, I was truly humbled. What a brat I had been. I immediately repented. And I have been putting into practice that incredible wisdom, day in and day out, for many years now.
But yesterday, while listening to the grumbles and complaints, it pained my heart. I have tried to pass along that same wisdom to my own children, as it was once given to me. But lately it seems that the lesson has been lost. There is far more grumbling and complaining than giving Him glory. Grumbling and complaining are nearly constant these days.
"These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful desires; they are loud-mouthed boasters, showing favoritism to gain advantage."
You see, our children have been going through a phase, as all children do. This particular phase seems to have brought about a lack of "remembering". A lack of "thankfulness". And a lot of laziness. The Cherubs have taken on my old habit -- taking all things at face value only, forgetting that all things were created OF God, forgetting that all things can be seen as a blessing or a curse. It seems, of late, that the world is pulling quite hard on our Cherubs, and that in the pulling they have forgotten to Remember .... remember to be thankful .... remember to be gracious .... remember to think of Him .... remember to pray to Him .... remember what it means to have a servant's heart .... remember to give Glory to God in all things.
As I drifted off to sleep last night, I was thinking of all of the blessings God has bestowed on our family ... and, as most mothers can understand, I was particularly concerned about the six Cherubs which God entrusted to us. Where had the pulling overpowered the wisdom ? Did they ever hear the message ? Why were they grumbling -- was the task too much for them, or were their hearts in the wrong place ? And what to do about it all --- isn't that the question of all mothers when things are not going as they should ?
I prayed first a prayer of thanksgiving -- for the honor of raising 6 Cherubs. I prayed for each of their hearts, that they might remember Him in all things. I prayed for their bodies, healthy and strong. I prayed that the "ant" come into their minds ... and that they would rediscover their servant's hearts. I prayed that they would renew their commitment to seeing the blessing rather than a curse. And I prayed for wisdom -- that God would make clear the steps I should (or should not) take in that redirection. That He would give me the words, if there were any to be spoken.
Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard
"For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, 'You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, 'Why do you stand here idle all day?' They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You go into the vineyard too.' And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.' And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?' So the last will be first, and the first last."This morning I awoke with a renewed sense of peace, a sense of direction, several passages of scripture relating to grumbling, and with this beautiful song by Mark Shultz on my mind.
In a Bible cracked and faded by the years
In a santuary filled with silent prayers
And age to age
And heart to heart
Bound by grace and peace
Child of wonder, Child of God
I'll remember you
When the color of the sunset fills the sky
When you pray and the tears of joy
fall from your eyes
When the children leave
their Sunday school with smiles
When they're old enough to teach
Old enough to preach
Old enough to leave
Age to age and heart to heart
Child of wonder child of God
Age to age and heart to heart
Child of wonder child of God