There’s an unpleasant theme that runs through the books of Moses. It’s like a foul smell you can’t pinpoint the source of. It surfaces in times of disappointment, change, surprise, alarm, threat, or even when the leadership is unavailable for regular communication. The theme of course is complaining. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do”. This was definitely the case among the Jews in the wilderness. Despite numerous miracles and dramatic divine intervention, the Lord must repeatedly prove himself to his own people. Between miraculous rescues, the people act as if he’s gone on vacation. Occasionally they complain to Moses, but mostly it’s to each other. It’s easier to complain around family. Deuteronomy 1:27 reveals they murmur in their tents. Most of us can keep a lid on our discontentment until we get home. Then it all comes out.
My grandfather taught me the most effective antidote against the sin of grumbling is thankfulness. It’s counterintuitive, but ridiculously effective at killing the root of whining bitterness that grows with every recycled negative thought. If we uproot complaining and replace it with thanksgiving, we’ll radically change the aroma of our home. Try it.