Read: Exodus 16:1-8 and Psalm 95
If there has been one failure in the United Methodist system of church government, it would be in the way in which the Pastor Parish Relations Committee works. Most Methodists believe it is the complaints department, and they intend to get their money’s worth out of it.
Which is a not-so-nice way of saying we complain way too much.
It arises from selfishness, along with a heaping helping of mis-communication. We have the idea that the pastor is subject to our whims. We have the idea that the church revolves around us. Instead of getting out and doing works of ministry like Jesus commanded us, we “pay the preacher to do all that.”
The PPRC isn’t supposed to be the complaints department. Every niggling gripe we have does not have to be turned into a reason to leave the church or move the preacher. Instead, the PPRC is to listen to the pastor, catch the vision God has given to the church through the leadership of the pastor, and then help the pastor communicate that vision to everyone else. It is not to scold the pastor for not visiting Sister Jane, but to be the pastor’s biggest cheer leaders. Even when we don’t agree with all the details.
Today’s reading deals with the Israelites’ constant complaining. In one instance, God got so fed up he threatened to kill them all and start over with Moses. In the end, he relented and killed them off one by one in the desert. Don’t let your church’s incessant complaining be a reason for God to remove his Spirit. Be the Church, don’t just play church.
After all, it’s not about you. It’s about what God wants to do in you and through you.
Almighty God, you have called us by name to be faithful disciples of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ: Grant us grace that we might put aside our bickering and complaining, that we might faithfully follow your will as missionaries in a dark and fallen world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.