I was reading a story in the book of Mark about Jesus doing some mighty miracles and showing love to those we would label “unlovable.”  In the first story we have the famous paralytic on a mat being dropped through the roof of a house.  These four men want their buddy healed, so they go to extreme measures to see Jesus.  Here is where we skim over a few verses, because like the crowd in the house, we are totally amazed with the whole scene!  In verse 6 we read, “Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that?”
These religious men are just sitting there!  Not amazed, not excited, just sitting there.  And what do they do?  Complain.  Instead of finding joy in new life, healing, and exuberant teaching – they just sit there and complain.
As you continue to read in Mark chapter 2, we see Jesus recruit Levi to follow Him.  Matter of fact, Jesus pursues Levi to the point of having dinner at Levi’s house, where many other tax collectors and sinners join Jesus and His disciples. Once again the religious leaders looked at this moment and complained.  Instead of celebrating the boldness and love of Jesus for the lost, they disagreed with the unique soul-winning tactics of Jesus.
Are we any different today?  When we gather to worship God at church, do we sit and complain about the music, the long winded Pastor, or the fact that we couldn’t sleep in?  Do we sit there and wonder why no one talks to us?  Or do we stand up and get involved?  Do we stand in amazement and praise God that we have new life!?  Do we celebrate that we can be healed from spiritual and physical sickness?
Do we sit in the stands and complain about the coaches or the referees?  Do we sit around the dinner table and complain about our kids teachers?  Do we sit around the living room complaining about our job, our church, or the government?
The religious leaders were supposed to be contributors to God’s kingdom.
Contribute not complain!  
Praise not protest!
Commend not criticize!
Give not grumble!
How about you?  If you were following Jesus that day, what person would you identify with?  What kind of person are you, complainer or contributor?
It’s not always easy to avoid being a complainer, but do we really find joy in a complaining lifestyle?  I don’t think so.  This is something we can all work on…EVEN ME!  Let’s encourage one another today!  Let’s stand, let’s contribute, let’s commend, and let’s give praise to God!

See you all Sunday!

Pastor Rex