Grumbling, Or Gratitude?

Faced with a crowd of four thousand men, plus their families, and having only a few fish and loaves of bread with which to feed them, Jesus did the unexpected.He gave thanks. He could have complained about several things – the lack of peace and quite; the constant demands on His time and energy; the obvious unbelief of His disciples, though they had seen Him feed an even larger crowd; not to mention the paucity of His resources. Indeed, His ancestors had consistently complained, even after God had marvelously delivered them from slavery in Egypt. “You have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger!” they shouted at Moses (Exodus 16:3). Given daily manna from heaven, they next grumbled about the lack of water, then about the absence of meat in their diet, then about the sameness of each day’s food, with no spices and vegetables to add interest. Nothing could satisfy them. They are not the only grumblers, however. Paul describes all of us when he writes, “Although they knew God [from the created order], they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful…” (Romans 1:21). Ingratitude invites – even demands – the wrath of God, for it denies Him the glory, honor, trust, praise, and thanks which rightly belong to Him (Romans 1:18, 32). Furthermore, it eats like a cancer in our souls, giving birth to all sorts of wickedness and vice 1:21-31). But Jesus, the embodiment of true Israel, set a contrary example: Surrounded by a hungry multitude in the wilderness and holding a paltry meal in His hands, He gave thanks. As we follow in His steps, let us remember to be “Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20).