Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sucking a good time right out of the room

I was a college freshman at 22 years old, after 4 years in the Air Force. In high school, I never took a foreign language. In college, I chose German as my foreign language requirement.

The Germans are serious and silly at the same time. They love to work hard and they love to have a good time. What I learned in German class was the Germans have a word for knowing how to have a good time. The word is "gemuetlichkeit". I asked the instructor why the Germans need a word like that. He said, “Because some people do not know how to have a good time.” As a twenty-two year old, I thought it silly but at sixty-two years of age, I have met more than my share of people who have no clue on how to have a good time much less enjoy life on the whole.

I was part of a business gathering recently. It was a good time of visiting and eating. We were enjoying listening to one of the women who stages houses for sale. She works with sellers to rearrange furniture, get rid of junk, and do whatever to help the sellers of the house put their best foot forward. We were all fascinated by what she did and how she did it. The good time we were having was literally sucked out of the room by a negative complain-about-everything associate. The complainer carried on saying “If you were to come to my house, you would have to bring the Goodwill truck.” This woman lives in a large home in a prestigious suburb where colors, carpet and furniture were all picked out by a designer. She carried on about this with the majority of the people knowing the truth; she lives very well. If the Goodwill truck were to come, they would make quite a haul.

As a result of her sniveling, the spirit in the room changed. We were experiencing gemuetlichkeit when she decided to indulge herself with a false pride, self-consuming charade. The rest of us knew different and it sucked all the gemuetlichkeit right out of the room.

We live in a blessed place; it’s called America. Most of us have never known hunger. Many of us have never gone to bed hungry or cold. None of us have gone naked except by choice. We complain about our life while we live in houses too big for ourselves. We have too many clothes for our too small closets. Food turns purple with mold in our refrigerator and we throw it out without a thought. How spoiled are we? And then we have the gall to complain when our furniture is a few years old. Come on!

Could we not enjoy each others company for a couple of hours without this contrived whining? Are you sick of this? I am. How common is it? I think it is very common. We complain about many things yet God has blessed us beyond measure. God is patient with people who complain about everything but there is a limit to his patience. He does not always tolerate ungrateful people yet He has been gracious to us. Numbers 11:1-6 says: “Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. When the people cried out to Moses, he prayed to the Lord and the fire died down. So that place was called Taberah, because fire from the Lord had burned among them. The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!’" Life is really tough, huh?

In Isaiah 5, Isaiah the prophet writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit about his chosen people who were blessed beyond measure. Look what happens to them beginning in verse 1 “I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.” The one He loves, the nation of Israel, he blesses. Yet they are judged for their sin. (V. 7-13): "The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are the garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: "Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants. A ten-acre vineyard will produce only a bath of wine, a homer of seed only an ephah of grain." Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord, no respect for the work of his hands. Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding; their men of rank will die of hunger and their masses will be parched with thirst.” A sobering thought for us ungrateful whiners.

We don’t have to get drunk to have a good time. God is not against gemuetlichkeit but he is against having a good time without a regard for Him and His deeds. He has been good to us in word and deed, we must always remember that. May we not complain and grumble or wail. We would do well to stop our whining and get on our face and ask the Lord for forgiveness.

No comments: