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.


Eastdale Village Community UMC Gives Produce To Community

The Eastdale Neighborhood Association will share and provide free produce to feed the community on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Eastdale Village Community United Methodist Church at 1403 Tunnel Boulevard. If it rains, the event will be held in the fellowship hall. (click for more)

Steve Ellison: Proper Response To A Sermon

Firsts in the Scripture ought to capture our attention.  We should pay close attention to those things occurring first in the Biblical record.  Acts 2 records the first sermon after the coming of the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, Peter’s message to those present in the upper room constituted the first sermon to the newly birthed Church.  Peter focused on the evidences ... (click for more)

Sources Say Domestic Incident Involving Mayor's Aide Came After Husband Confronted Her And Mayor Behind Restaurant

A domestic disorder involving a top female aide to Mayor Andy Berke was sparked after her husband recently confronted the aide and the mayor in a parked car behind a Mexican restaurant, several sources said.   The sources said Bobby Stone had sometime earlier caught wife Lacie Newton Stone "trading inappropriate, sexually suggestive texts."   Sources ... (click for more)

Robbery Arrest Made After Victim Gets New Replacement Phone And Pics Of Robbers Are Uploaded To New Phone

A robbery arrest was made after the victim got a new phone and then had pictures from her stolen phone uploaded to the new phone to her Cloud account. Among the pictures uploaded were photos of the robbers. The female victim identified Seth Benjamin Hardnett, 18, of 1703 E. 14th St., as one of the robbers from the incident on April 12. Hardnett was charged with aggravated ... (click for more)

Colonel Enicks Is Turning Out Leaders At Red Bank High School

I am a former teacher and football coach at Red Bank High School. I have been a witness to the great things that happen at Red Bank High School.  The teaching staff has a great mixture of experience and promising new teachers.   Dr. Robertson, the principal, is a great man and a wonderful role model for students. He shows up the same way every day and his consistency ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Hot Rod’s Catfish Dinner

It could well be the best part of playing a prank is in the delicious moments until your “fish” takes the hook. So yesterday afternoon, as I tried repeatedly to talk to a man I haven’t spoken to in 27 years, rather than leave my name I popped off the Happy Birthday song in a snappy, loud way and then ended it with a simple, “Call me,” adding my number. John “Hot Rod” Talley spent ... (click for more)