From Grumbling to Gathering: Manna in the Wilderness
(My notes on the Sermon today that I really, really needed to hear!)
Exodus: The people of God’s journey from slavery to freedom wasn’t very happy. They were complaining already just one month after leaving Egypt. Nothing ever made them happy. Their one constant was complaining.
The first thing wrong with complaining is that it distorts the past. Once we are in a different place, we only remember the good from the past. Whether in our history as a country or just as ourselves, we remember the past as a golden age that we have lost. We are blinded by nostalgia.
The second thing wrong with grumbling is that it exaggerates the present. We focus on what’s wrong and lose our sense of proportion. Change is a necessary part of life. It’s not easy or fun, but focusing on what we don’t like about the new causes us to miss embracing the good and learning from the difficult.
The third thing wrong with a negative attitude is while it distorts the past, and exaggerates the present, it also destroys the future. We aren’t able to trust enough to embrace the journey and grow spiritually from it.
Stop grumbling by learning to trust.
- Trust God to provide by drawing near to God. Focus on God’s glory around you. Notice God’s footprints in the small gifts each day. Ask and then watch and listen. We are not alone. We do not have guarantees for the future whatever we do to prepare for it, but we do have God in it.
- Trust God enough to rest on the seventh day. God sent just enough manna to his people in the desert to get them through each day, except on the sixth day he sent double so they didn’t have to go out gathering on the Sabbath. Take time to remember and thank for what God has brought you through, focus on how God is present with you now, and pray for the grace to continue becoming the person God created you to be.
- Trust that God will always be trustworthy. He had the Israelites put manna in a jar in the Ark of the Covenant to assure future generations that God provides. Our sign now is Jesus. Jesus who said, “I am the bread of Life.” Jesus who came to show us the nature of God, the love of God, the power of the Spirit of God within us and around us. Walk with Jesus through the New Testament each day so you can see how to walk closer with him.
(Okay, this is just my small escape clause and not the gospel according to Jesus or Pastor John.) “Monday is the Day the Lord hath made for Whining.” Once I get it out of my system, I can move on to praising, thanking, and learning. However, it is a moveable feast: if I don’t whine on Monday, I do allow myself one other day out of the seven. The trouble has been that lately I have been whining seven out of seven over Covid starting up again. So, the sermon today hit me between the eyes. Regroup time….I was born worrying…so I’ll probably need that one day, but feel free to remind me when I start doing the Exodus Rap.)