Complaining not worthwhile use of time

By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist

I read an interesting story about some monkeys in India. They made their home in the jungle surrounded by a beautiful golf course.

These monkeys had a fascination with golf balls. Every time a golfer hit a ball, the monkeys jumped from the trees and grabbed the ball.

In pursuit of the ball, if chased by the caddy or player, the monkeys dropped the ball.

However, wherever the ball dropped, that is where the game had to continue. The club rules were: “Play the ball where the monkey drops it.”

As unfair as this sounds, the golfers had to keep swinging and playing through to finish the course. To complain about the monkeys would be a waste of time.

If you and I are to successfully finish our course in this life, we must not waste time by complaining about “monkey business” in our lives. Complaining erodes faith in God. Complaining is a joy stealer and a faith robber. Complaining causes one to forget blessings.

Murmuring and complaining robs hope.

In Numbers 21, the Israelites complained big time. They spoke against God and against Moses, God’s anointed leader.

“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (NIV)

The Lord sent venomous snakes as punishment for the Israelites’ unbelief and complaints.

Moses prayed for the people and in his mercy, God told Moses: “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” (NIV)

Just as the Israelites believed God and were healed, believers today look to Jesus’ death on the cross to be saved from the sickness of sin.

If anyone had reason to complain, David did. When he could no longer be still about injustices, he went directly to God and left the matter in God’s hands. I must do that too.

Happiness depends on circumstances, but those with joy know that God is on our side and he will be there no matter what.

Our time on earth is limited and too precious to waste. Time spent complaining about tomorrow or yesterday drains life of the “now” and the gift of life is tarnished because of a murmuring attitude.

Awakening to a brand new day puts zest in everyday living and puts purpose in our lives. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Joy can come through a door you didn’t even know you left open.

Trusting God and a willingness to change behavior brings blessings. We all face problems, but faith, trust and obedience in God gives strength that “overcomes the world.”

So let’s come to the realization that life is a gift. Be thankful for the time we have to live. Think about all the good things that have happened to you. Replace complaints with encouragement and sincere compliments. You will be surprised when you look for the good and that drives out murmuring and complaining.

You may not be a golfer, but the next time “monkey business” gets in your way, keep swinging anyway.

Finish the course and win the prize!