James S. Hewett tells of a young boy who complained to his father that most of the church hymns were boring and old-fashioned, with tiresome words that meant little to his generation. His father challenged him with these words: “If you think you can write better hymns, why don’t you?”
The boy accepted the challenge, went to his room, and wrote his first hymn. The year was 1690, and the young man was Isaac Watts. Among his 350 hymns are “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” “I Sing the Almighty Power of God,” and many other classics.
Complainers are a dime a dozen. It takes no talent and little effort to grumble about what we don’t like. I have a quote from Theodore Roosevelt in my office that reads, “Far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor, timid spirits who know neither victory or defeat.” Those “poor, timid spirits” are seldom quiet on the sidelines. With their complaints they are like the opponents of Jesus who “tie up heavy loads, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” (Matthew 23:4). God’s Word commands us to, “Do everything without complaining or arguing” (Philippians 2:14). God didn’t take kindly to the whiners and complainers in Moses’ day (1 Corinthians 10:10). I doubt he feels any warmer toward them today.
Does this mean that complaints and criticisms should never be lodged? No. But when we do complain we need to be willing to give of our own time, effort and resources to correct whatever it is that isn’t right.