Reasons to Complain

Having lived in the middle of SEC country for nearly seven years now, I thought I had seen the worst examples of “Can’t take L for an answer.”  But two New Orleans fans have taken it to a whole other level.  They are actually suing the NFL over the result of the NFC championship game, in which their beloved Saints lost to the Rams — in no small part because of an admittedly horrible non-call near the end of the game.

They want the commissioner of the NFL to do something about it.  Ideally, replay the entire game (or at least the last few minutes of regulation), or just flat-out reverse the game results.  Nothing unreasonable.

I am fearlessly writing this article and publishing it on Super Bowl Sunday because I have every expectation that this case will never see the light of day.  The reasons are multitudinous, but let’s focus on the main one: it’s idiotic.  The fans cannot claim damages because they were not damaged.  Their team missed the Super Bowl.  So what?  So did 29 other teams.  So now, instead of the anticipated “Geaux Saints!” or “Lose, Patriots, Lose!” party, they have to retheme to “A Pox on Both Your Houses!” or something like that.  I assure you, it will not affect the flavor of the guacamole in the slightest.

Have you heard the term “First World Problems”?  The abovementioned situation is Exhibit A.  If you have time and energy to protest the outcome of a game played with a ball by total strangers, you are truly blessed.  Give thanks.

In recent weeks I have sung the praises of the body of Christ, using the recurring theme of dessert to bring the point home.  Frankly, I feel awkward comparing something so glorious to carrot cake and peach cobbler, delightful as those concoctions may be; the body of Christ is far greater, far more magnificent in every way.  And yet I find myself in position of trying to defend its glories to Christians — those who, more than anyone else, ought to know that already.  I fear, though, that the so-called problems we find in the Lord’s church today show a complete lack of appreciation for the magnificent life we enjoy with Christ and with one another.  A few examples:

“We’re too busy to trek to the church building three times a week, let alone for a gospel meeting.”  That’s a problem, certainly, but probably not the problem you mean.  We have brethren who walk for hours to get to a bus that will take them to worship.  Most of them are busy with mundane tasks such as finding enough food to eat on a given day.  But they find the time.  They make the time.  Perhaps the real problem is too much Matthew 13:22 and not enough Psalm 122:1.

“I can’t get comfortable.”  Well, we could meet outside, like many of our brethren are doing today all over the world.  At the time of this writing, the forecast called for temperatures in the 60s, which is pretty good for this time of year.  Any takers?  I’ll save a tree stump for you.

“The preacher is too longwinded.”  Well, you have a point there.  Still, if everything he says is backed up by God’s word (1 Peter 4:11), then how poorly spent could that time be?  And don’t we all have a loved one who we would gladly hogtie and drag to the church house, praying that the preacher continue until midnight?

“Everyone is too nosy.”  As often as not, these are also the ones who fuss about not getting cards and phone calls when they are sick.  That’s irony.  But really, what is the best number of people to have in your life to rejoice/weep with you when you rejoice/weep (Romans 12:15)?  Is any number too large?  And if we are happier without our brethren and our elders knowing what we are doing on a day-to-day basis, what does that say about how we are spending our time?

Have we really been so blessed by the Lord in this marvelous nation and time that we will stoop to such levels?  Are we so determined to violate the principles of Philippians 2:14 that we will complain about absolutely anything?  Do we judge God for abandoning us simply because He does not give us absolutely everything we want at the absolute moment we ask for it?  Our study in Numbers this week should remind us of how God views such behavior (Numbers 11:1).