Bob Tamasy: Finding The No-Complaint Department

Monday, August 19, 2013 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

A guy in my morning exercise class, whenever he’s asked, “How are you?” often responds, “Can’t complain. No one wants to hear it anyway.” He’s right, of course. We don’t want to hear other people’s complaints. We have enough of our own.

Take the weather, for example: Too hot. Too cold. Too wet. Too dry. Or the government: Too big, too involved, or too controlling. Except when we want highway potholes fixed, relief following disasters, or various services provided when we need them. Then we can’t get enough government.

We complain when our favorite teams and players under-perform. We complain when spouses, family members and friends fail to meet our expectations. We complain when we go shopping: Unable to find a sales associate when we need one.

Or feeling harassed when a sales associate hovers nearby. (Admittedly a rare occurrence these days.)

We complain about aches and pains, major and minor. Especially as we get older. It’s almost a contest: “Any complaint you can make, I can make better!”

Even at church we complain: The music’s too fast, too slow, too loud, too contemporary, too old. The sermon wasn’t entertaining enough. Not enough multi-media to hold our attention. The service ran too long, disrupting our mealtime plans. And when we do go out to dinner, we complain about the food and the service.

So it surprised me recently when I spotted a sign in an antique store that read: “Too blessed to complain.”

When was the last time you felt that way? Have you ever felt that way? In our society, discontent is considered a virtue. Marketing people make it their solemn duty to keep us dissatisfied with what we have and where we go. According to them, nothing is worse than status quo. So it seems unnatural to feel “too blessed to complain,” doesn’t it?

To the contrary, the motto of our materialistic world is, “too much is never enough.” No matter how much we’ve got, we can always complain about wanting or needing more.

This is one reason I’ve marveled at the apostle Paul’s declaration: “…for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Philippians 3:11-12).

This is a striking statement, particularly when you consider where he was writing from – prison. No “woe is me”; no “life isn’t fair”; no “why me and not so-and so?” How could Paul avoid grumbling and complaining in confinement? How could he claim to be “content” in jail?

The secret, I believe, was his perspective. Paul remembered what life was like before encountering Jesus Christ, and knew his life with Christ was far better. Even though “before” he had been somewhat of a religious celebrity, and “after” he was treated as a pariah by the religious establishment. Paul recalled during his self-righteous, zealous persecution of those that followed Jesus, his victims demonstrated an inner peace he’d never known – until he, too, met Jesus.

Paul understood by refusing to complain, followers of Christ set themselves apart from people around them. That’s why he wrote, “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation” (Philippians 2:14-15).

And Paul knew that no matter how bad his life on earth got, another life – a far better life beyond comprehension or imagination – awaited him. So, most likely the apostle often thought, even if he might not have used the exact words, he was “too blessed to complain.”

I’d like to be able to say that – and mean it. How about you?

---

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.



Mitch McClure To Speak On "Thankful For The Love Of God" On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God announced that Pastor Mitch McClure will speak on the topic, "Thankful For The Love Of God" in the  10:30 a.m.  service on  Sunday . This sermon is part of a sermon series titled "Thankful Again." This series focuses attention to the goodness that God has demonstrated to each of us and encourages us to discover new and ... (click for more)

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church Presents 47th Annual Fall Festival Of Music

Greater Tucker Missionary Baptist Church will present their 47th annual Fall Festival Of Music this Sunday at 3:30 p.m. (click for more)

3 People Shot Early Saturday Morning; 1 Is Killed; 2 Victims Are Known Gang Members

Ladarius Cross, 28, Terrance Careathers, 26, and a juvenile were shot early Saturday morning. Cross was killed.   Chattanooga Police responded to a motor vehicle crash at 5:16 a.m. in the 1400 block of Roanoke Avenue.   Upon arrival, Chattanooga Police Officers located the single vehicle crash with two people suffering for apparent gunshot wounds. The driver, ... (click for more)

Longest-Serving County Official Knowles Is First In Line To Sign Up For New Term

Bill Knowles is one of the longest-serving officials in Hamilton County history, and he's not through yet. County clerk since 1974, he was the first in line on Friday morning to pick up his petition for re-election. Then he beat everyone back with the completed form. Mr. Knowles said, "I ran in 1974 on a campaign of ending the long tag lines. We put in a tag by mail system ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Should Be Problem Solvers Around The City

Re: Roy Exum’s “Stay, Signal Mountain, Stay”  Well this article is something to think about. I think the split could go either way, and Signal Mountain schools would still flourish, as they have done for the past several years. What I'm worried about is why Signal Mountain has not yet had the guts to go be problem solvers at Howard, or Tyner, or Central. Why do ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The School Board Bullies

When the good people of Signal Mountain join with their loved ones to give thanks for many, many blessings on this hallowed Thursday, you can bet the Hamilton County Department of Education will be on nary a list. For the past year a diligent advisory committee has studied the feasibility of forming its own school district and exactly one week prior to Thanksgiving, the misguided ... (click for more)