Mississippi News

Lynn Jones: Help us not to crumble

By Lynn Jones

The words of a haunting old spiritual say, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.” Some people cannot sing that song because everybody knows the trouble they have seen. That is all they want to talk about. If they can hem anyone up for a few minutes, they unload on them about their troubles.

One woman said that she had a friend who presented an organ recital at church each Sunday morning. She explained, “When I see her, she recites the condition of every organ in her body.” Many people enjoy presenting organ recitals. You may have attended some of those recitals yourself. 

Lynn Jones

We all have problems. And talking about our pain and difficulties is often helpful—even necessary. But beware of the fatal tendency to talk about nothing else.

Grumbling about our lot in life is a favorite human pastime. Take the children of Israel for example. They had been delivered from slavery in Egypt through a mighty act of God. The miracle of God’s parting the waters of the Red Sea so that the Israelites could cross the sea is one of the most impressive miracles in the Bible. Then, God guided them through the wilderness by going before them with a cloud by day and a fiery pillar by night.

You would think that they would have done nothing but celebrate the blessings of God the entire way to the promised land, right? Wrong! They did little else but murmur and grumble. They murmured about how poor the food was and how great it had been back in Egypt. They murmured about the heat and their thirst. They murmured about the poor quality of leadership Moses was giving them. Grumble, grumble, toil, and trouble—that was their lot in life. And there is always the danger that we will fall into the same pattern in our own lives.

In one of my pastorates, there was a young family in our church that had two small daughters. One night, the mother told her girls a bedtime story about a little girl who grumbled all the time. After the story was over, they talked about how we should not grumble and gripe.

The younger girl took the lesson to heart. As they said their prayers that evening, she thanked the Lord for the blessings of the day. Then she added this line, “And, dear Lord, help us not to crumble.”

The words “grumble” and “crumble” are close in sound and in spelling. They are also close in reality.

We sometimes say, “He laughed himself to death.” Actually, people do not laugh themselves to death. Laughter does not kill. On the other hand, it would be accurate to say, “He grumbled himself to death.” Dwelling on our pain and problems does kill. Where do you dwell today?

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: kljones45@yahoo.com.

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