A Place at the Table – 23 – Spark
God, we thank You for Your inexhaustible grace. Too many times we have deserved Your judgment and punishment. We are so grateful for Your forgiveness. We pray that we will identify our tendency to embrace a complaining spirit as a cancer in the body of Christ. Teach us ways to encourage and lift up our brothers and sisters. If dissatisfaction is the root, plant confidence in us and remind us that through Your Son, Jesus, our relationship is restored. In this growing love and confidence from You, may we bless and encourage one another always. Amen.
I obviously cannot identify with the experience of the Hebrews in the wilderness. I have not been in a place to have to eat the same food every day, cannot store food up for days at a time, and not have a consistent place that I can call home. Obviously from the description, I have grown up in a privileged society in a world that has many many many who have the experience of the Hebrews as described in Exodus. Yet, it is so easy to be exactly as they are described – I found myself complaining about my Lenten discipline the other day. I’ve been eating rice and beans for lunch for most of Lent (with the exception of wife-ordered chicken noodle soup while I was pretty sick the last few days). And it has gotten a bit boring. I find myself wanting to get something else – hit a burger place, make a run to Qdoba, etc. But I read passages like today’s and am reminded of the realities of many in the world past, world present, and world future. I am also reminded of what Seay shares that complaining and gossip are all too easy and like the Hebrews, that complaining can spread like wildfire. A single complaint, a single gossip, can have ramifications far beyond what we want. This is where a spark is not a good thing. Churches have a tendency to be some of the worst with this unfortunately. We are called to let our sparks be those of generosity, gratefulness, and love.