I used to work in Noah’s Ark. No, I didn’t work in the one with Noah and all the animals. It was a restaurant shaped by a giant boat with a bunch of fake animals all over the place. I didn’t work there very long. Apparently one of the rules for working there was that the new guys get pushed around by the guys that had managed to work there three or four grueling months. So one Sunday morning, when two other guys didn’t want to work and thought I should handle a huge crowd all on my own, I quit. They got fired and I never went back inside the ark again.
In my short time working amongst all the plastic animals, I did have some excellent adventures. There were adventures of taking food to the hotel for room service. I never knew what I was going to see when the hotel room door opened.
There were adventures involving the animals, real ones and not the fake ones that seemed to be everywhere. Most of the time I was grateful the animals were plastic replicas of elephants and giraffes. Real ones would have caused so much more work. Even a tiny mouse (a real one) can cause a really big mess when a grown man crawls over a table knocking plates and drinks everywhere so he can get to a place to shake the little critter out of his pant leg. That’s entertainment!
But I decided I never wanted to work in a restaurant again. Even though people in that particular restaurant would often gush about how wonderful that nasty smelling clam chowder was, it seemed they mostly just complained. The complained about their service, the food, the temperature and the lighting. They hated the way the elephant was staring at them. The bread was stale, the chowder was cold and their drink was watered down. I don’t know if any or all of the complaints were legitimate or not. I never could afford to eat anything more than a hamburger there. The burger were delicious.
I remember one lady that returned three different steaks in one evening. There was nothing wrong with the steaks. They were barely cooked and warm on the inside. But she put on a huge show for those in her party and demonstrated the finest complaining I have ever heard anywhere in my life. The last time she returned her steak they simply put it on a different plate and sent it back to her. Then she raved how this time it was just right and she let her food shut her mouth.
I’m terrible about complaining in a restaurant too. I am a nice, patient guy unless I don’t get acknowledged when I come in the door, my drinks aren’t refilled or my food order comes to me different than I ordered it. Then it starts, I complain about everything. The waitress not only has failed to provide the service I deserve but she has looked ugly doing it. In fact, all the rest of the staff is ugly and so are their mommies and daddies. I turn my complaining into an art form and actually begin to enjoy it. Maybe this is my calling. It just flows from my mouth like water from a spring.
Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
A while back my pastor spoke about these verses. There is a lot of stuff packed into this little portion of the bible. I know from experience working in a restaurant that when a complainer is in the building they are criticized. They are made fun of and there are some pretty bad things said about them. I have been “that guy”, the one that the staff of a restaurant, the employees at a store, the players at a ball game or any other place that my tirade of complaining has occurred. I have been criticized.
I have been crooked and perverse and tried to get others to follow me as I led a chorus of vile, useless complaining. It is not only useless it is directly disobedient to God’s Word. It is sin.
I am to live a clean and innocent life. I am to be uncontaminated. The words that flow from my mouth like water are to be pure and without pollution. Complaining makes the words I speak useless to others. They are contaminated, polluted, corrupted and impure. If others take them in they will become sick spiritually. They will become crooked and perverse. I am supposed to be a bright light, not a source of the bent and twisted nature we are to help rescue the rest of the world from.
God, take away my selfishness that drives me to complain and argue. Keep my words pure and uncontaminated. Make me a light that shines brightly in a dark world. Amen.