September 21, 2016

Grumpy Ron

1 Peter 3:8-9

All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil. . . .

—  1 Peter 3:8-9

My friend Ron faithfully attended our small church, but he didn’t like our worship services much. Maybe it was that we met in a rented building. It didn’t feel like, you know, a church. Maybe it was our style—just acoustic guitar and a sermon. And maybe my sermons weren’t so great. If that was the case, he was too kind to say.

All I know is that sometimes Ron came to our gatherings looking a bit rumpled, passive, and a little grumpy. And he didn’t always agree with our programming, like when we hosted a 5K fund-raising run for an AIDS clinic. Also, Ron didn’t like fellow member Dick the navy guy very much. He didn’t hate him, but there was a bit of a personality clash.

My point is that church can sometimes be challenging. This is another sign of sanctification: giving up control. “Value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). “Bear with each other and forgive one another” (Colos­sians 3:13). These are big themes in the Bible.

Every pastor I know can tell stories about church members who are controlling, bitter, bent on misery—and who make everyone else miserable too. Please don’t be such a person.

It says a lot about Ron’s faith that he stayed with us. He served and put up with us, even if at times he was a bit grumpy. The Spirit was at work in him. Is the Spirit working in you?

Lord, sometimes I feel grumpy. I need your help today to put a smile on my face and warmth in my heart. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Keith Mannes

Keith Mannes serves as pastor at Highland Christian Reformed Church in McBain, Michigan. Keith and his wife, Alicia, recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary,
and they are thankful for their three children—Eben, Charis, and Breanna.

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