First world problems – I don’t know if you have ever seen these but basically they are complaints that we in the first world (the wealthy, industrialised west) have. Here’re a few examples:
- Have to plug in laptop after 6 hours of use. So annoying
- I just spent $300 on groceries, opened my fridge and didn’t feel like eating any of it…
- I’m being taxed too much due to my high salary; I need to work less, to try to get into a lower tax bracket.
- It’s Monday and my parent’s old 40 inch TV isn’t getting installed in my bedroom until Tuesday.
- My sandwich had to many toppings on it and when I bit into it, my mouth cramped up.
Admittedly they are supposed to be humorous but like so many things the thing that makes them humorous is the element of truth at the root. I’ve complained about having no cell phone signal. I’ve complained about there being no Starbucks just Tim Horton’s or Blenz. I’ve been too fussy to eat at IHOP because I want Denny’s or McDonald’s. It seems I like to complain. And I often like to do it about things I should be thankful for.
5 Remember in Egypt when we could eat whatever amount of fish we wanted, or even the abundant cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic. But this, this can hardly be called food at all! 6 Our appetites have dried up. All we ever have to look at is manna, manna, manna.
I like to think that if God provided miraculous drop down from Heaven and be there every morning food for me that I would be grateful. That unlike the Israelites I would not get bored and go longing after stuff that was in the place I was a slave. Hmm.
Jesus:35 I am the bread that gives life. If you come to My table and eat, you will never go hungry. Believe in Me, and you will never go thirsty.
Hmmm. Isn’t that drop down from Heaven, there every moment food? Isn’t Jesus telling me there that He can satisfy every need I have? Not only for food and drink but for life, that abundant life I have mentioned before. I’m not talking about helicopter riding, mansion living, gold dripping life. I am talking about a life that is full of relationship, love, acceptance, purpose and power. A life that’s not dragged down by the past (as I said yesterday) but a life that has been changed and is ready to affect and change others.
But I have to confess I am too often with the Israelites looking back mournfully at ‘better times’ because it’s hard sometimes. I have to participate when I’d like to stay in bed. I have to participate when there are people to whom I would really rather not speak. I have to participate when I’d really like to spend my money on a lush holiday and forget the homeless or starving. Truth is the ‘better times’ might have felt better but that’s cos they were selfish times where I only thought about myself and today and being comfortable. As soon as I look up from my so gorgeous navel and see the reality of life I have to choose the abundant life God offers.
So what lesson do I learn from the complaints in Numbers? To count my blessings? Yes but why? To be thankful because God doesn’t just give me good things; He is transforming me into a good thing for Himself and for others. The work He is doing is both visible and invisible. It is both physical and spiritual. I can see it but even when I can’t see it, even when it gets tough I can know it is still ongoing and have faith that it will be good in the end.