Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.
Why does God hate complaining? There are four problems with complaining. First of all, complaining destroys the complainer. When you are always focusing on what God has not done instead of on all the good things God has done for you, it destroys your trust in God to take care of you for the future. It destroys you and your relationship with God.
Second, complaining discourages other people. Grumbling quickly spreads throughout an entire body of people; that is what happened with the Israelites. In Numbers 11:4, the grumbling started with the outsiders, but it was not contained there. It went all the way throughout the entire congregation of Israel, and the same thing happens in whatever group you are a part of. Complaining is like an infection; it starts with a few malcontents, and the grumbling grows larger and larger until it enrages and inflames the entire group. You cannot contain complaining.
Third, complaining depresses the leader. The people’s constant complaining wore Moses out until he was ready to check out of his job as the leader. That is why the writer of Hebrews said, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account” (13:17). Every night before I drift off to sleep, my final thought is usually this: “One day I am going to stand before God and give an account for the way I have led First Baptist Dallas.” It is a sobering reality. The Bible says I am under God’s authority, and one day I am going to give an account to Him for what I have done as pastor. Notice the rest of that verse: “Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you” (13:17). He says to church members: if you make your leader miserable, it not only discourages him, but it is going to hurt you as well. Some of you are a part of a church that has a bad habit of complaining about your pastor and picking at the staff. Let me tell you, as a pastor, what happens: The pastor and staff members who are hearing these complaints may resign, but most of the time they do not resign; they continue to work, collecting their paycheck, but their spirit is quenched. They just go through the motions. The writer of Hebrews says it is unprofitable for the church when you so discourage your pastor and staff that they stop putting their heart and effort into their ministry.
Fourth, complaining discredits the gospel of Jesus Christ. All church divisions begin with complaining in the congregation. And the people we are trying to reach do not want to be a part of that. It does not matter how strong our theology is or how dedicated we are to evangelism and missions–if our congregations are filled with fighting, feuding, and factions, then we discredit the gospel and drag the name of Jesus Christ through the mud. That is why it is so important that we never be guilty of complaining, which sows seeds of dissension in the church.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cure For Complaining” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2013.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.