There was a little sign that hung in our kitchen when I was growing up. It was made of wood with the bark still intact, with kwitchurbellyakin written in brown letters. Did you get what it said? Quit your belly achin’. That’s what my dad would say when we started complaining. It was a cute little reminder to watch our attitudes.
We have the same admonition in Scripture. Philippians 2:14 reminds us to “do all things without murmuring and disputing.” If we focus on this verse a bit, we can see that Paul was instructing the believers to do “all things” without complaining. We are encouraged to do everything we do without complaint. Let that sink in for a minute. If I’m honest, I will admit that I have failed in this; there are tasks that I simply do not like to do and sometimes I make sure other people know it.
It’s interesting that the New King James Version uses the word murmuring. I wonder if Paul was remembering the Israelites who often murmured and complained to Moses in the wilderness. They had been miraculously freed from Egyptian slavery, been provided for, and still complained because they weren’t satisfied and wanted more.
If we wonder why Paul had this admonition for the Philippians, it is given to us in the next verse – so that we can be a witness to the unbelievers around us – a light in a dark world. So, the next time you are tempted to complain about a person or situation, think about those around you. Are you being a light in the midst of darkness, a shining star pointing to the Savior?