The National Pastime

By Dennis L. Shaver

What is the national pastime? You think it’s baseball, football, basketball, golf? Would you believe it is none of these? As a matter of fact the national pastime is no longer a sport, unless you consider complaining a sport. That is right; we are a nation of complainers, and it has become the nation’s number one activity. We complain about the weather, health, politics, taxes, financial problems, etc. The real problem is that this is not just the national pastime. It is now the church’s number one work!

Yes, brethren have allowed complaining to infiltrate the church of our Lord, and many brethren have decided their work in the local church is to complain about what the rest of the brethren are or are not doing. These individuals will find fault with the plans the church makes to carry out it’s responsibilities, and they are always certain not enough is being done. If we would only follow their course of action, we could accomplish everything we desired. Of course when they are given the opportunity to work we find the best work they can do is complain! That is right, when it comes to doing they are at a loss, for the only part of their body which works is their mouth, and it never stops. I sometimes wonder when such brethren ever eat or sleep.

Well, I am going on record as of now that I for one am tired of hearing complaining brethren. It is not only aggravating to me personally, but it hinders the work of the local church. My advice to complainers is this. If you do not like the work the church is doing, and your desire is to complain, don’t. Keep your complaints to yourself. That is right, you have a right to object on Scriptural grounds, but if this in not the case you have nothing to say. You do have to like what the group, or elders, have decided but you could at least keep your mouth shut so everyone else can work. There are times when, in my opinion, or in the opinion of another brother, things will not be going according to “our better judgment.” However, unless that thing is unauthorized by the will of God we can keep our mouth shut and make the best of the situation.

Did you ever stop to notice the Bible teaching concerning complaining and complainers. (Read Ex. 16:7,8; 15:24; 17:3; Num. 14:2, 7, 36, etc.) Notice God’s reaction to the constant murmuring and complaining of the children of Israel. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron saying, How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, with the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me” (Num. 14:26-29). If God was not pleased with murmuring and complaining then, what makes us think He is now?

The answer is, He is not! Jesus said. “…murmur not among yourselves” (Jn. 6:43). This is a simple statement from the lips of our Lord. Could we dare call it a command? I believe so! Therefore, when we complain and murmur we have violated a direct command of our Lord. Now, where does this leave us? Paul wrote: “Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer” (1 Cor. 10:10). Speaking of complainers, Jude said, “These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaking great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage” (Jude 16).

Yes, complaining is dealt with in the word of God, and God will, in the end deal with complainers. It is a serious matter to violate the will of God, and many Christians today are seemingly unconcerned about living their lives as complainers. Complainers, take heed!

Truth Magazine XXII: 15, p. 253
April 13, 1978