Okay, so what's deal? All through your Facebook news feed you have been seeing your friends share the things their thankful for. It has become a November tradition for many to publicly thank the Lord for all the blessings in life. I think it's a wonderful thing, and I've done it a couple of times.
So why did your weird Facebook friend Donnie decide to list things he's grumpy about? After all, the preacher tells us we need to "move off Grumpy Street and onto Thanksgiving Avenue." Aren't I thankful? What good does it do to complain?
In case you missed it, here are the seven statuses that were strewn through my timeline over the last week:
Day 1: Today I'm grumpy about religion and religious leaders that are a hindrance to God' kingdom by getting in the way of true faith, humility, and a relationship with God.
Day 2: Today I'm grumpy about the fact that I have this sin monster in me that keeps rearing its ugly head. I know it's dead and defeated, but it still keeps getting me to do and think things I hate. Ughhhh!
Day 3: Today I'm grumpy that I'm using this ticket - the last home ticket from the 2013 season ticket package. Football season is waaaaaaaaay too short.
Day 4: Today I'm grumpy about death and the devastation, heartbreak, anger, and emptiness it lays on those who are left on earth. Death stinks.
Day 5: Today I'm grumpy that the wicked and corrupt have so much wealth and prosperity.
Day 6: Today I'm grumpy that my knowledge and capacity to understand is so limited. I love to learn and wish I could solve all the mysteries of the universe.
Day 7: Today I'm grumpy about the plight of the disenfranchised of the world - the widows, the orphans, the poor, and the oppressed.
And now it's Thanksgiving Day.
So why grumpiness?
I guess the first thing I was doing was trying to get out of the box. The thankfulness list has become so common that I wanted to do something a little different. That's the rebel in me coming out. But then I thought, this has potential. Maybe by listing some things that make me grumpy, I can create a contrast with the overwhelming thankfulness that permeates my life.
Second, I really do think I need to guard against using this season to be thankful and then go back to complaining the other 11 months. Thanksgiving is not just a day…or it shouldn't be. It should be the way I think about life every single day. So I was sort of saying this: Instead of getting my thanksgiving our of the way in November and going back to being grumpy, why not get my grumpiness out of the way and go back to being thankful?
Third, there are some things God is grumpy about. Grumpy, and downright angry. Hypocrisy. Oppression. Neglect. Poverty. Sin. I think the things that make God angry should make me angry too. So I've got to say it felt good to express those. And in all likelihood I'm not nearly as grumpy about those things as I should be.
(Note: Clearly, Day 3 did not fall into this category. :) )
So I listed them, and I'll let you in on a little secret: It was hard for me to just do that and not explain why. But I'm glad I did, because now - on Thanksgiving Day - I can tell you that I am so thankful for the blessings God has provided. I am thankful for life, health, creation, and for redemption through Jesus.. I am thankful beyond words for my friends and family. But I'm also thankful for blessings related to every complaint:
Day 1: I'm thankful Jesus came and called the religious establishment on its bluff, stripping away the hypocrisy and showing us how to live in relationship to the living God.
Day 2: "What a wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God - through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25)
Day 3: I'm thankful for football season and the enjoyment it gives me as I spend time with family and friends for a few short months each year.
Day 4: I'm thankful that through the death and resurrection of the Messiah Jesus, death has lost its power and no longer has the final word.
Day 5: I'm thankful that God's justice ultimately prevails, and that I enjoy fellowship with my Creator - something the wicked, rich or otherwise, will never know.
Day 6: I'm thankful that I have a God who does know everything and I can trust him completely. (Deuteronomy 29:29)
Day 7: I'm thankful that God loves the disenfranchised so much that Jesus announced there coming of the Kingdom as good news specifically for them. (Luke 4:16-21) And I'm thankful that he has called me to be part of the solution.
So there you have it. Seven days of grumpiness. May the things that break God's heart break mine too. And may I be filled with thankfulness all year, not just one day.