“And Moses told his father in law (Jethro) all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, and all the travail (hardship) that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Jethro said, Blessed be the LORD, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.”Exodus 18:8-10
Growing up in my home, we all had chores to do. My jobs were to cut the grass, pull the weeds in the front yard, throw out the trash, and take my turn to wash the dishes. I enjoyed cutting the grass, pulling the weeds was not too bad as long as you kept on them, and throwing out the trash was fairly easy. Although I did not mind those jobs too much, I have to say that I hated to wash the dishes.
When I came home from school and saw the sink full of dishes, my anger would well up inside of me. It seemed that when it was my turn to do the dishes, my mom would make a meal that required her to use every dish in the cupboard. I know this is not true, but it sure did seem like it. At the time, my sister was taking a sociology class and made an observance of my behavior and mood as it correlated to the amount of dishes in the sink. She pointed out to me her findings, and I did not take kindly to it. I complained about being the subject of her study and I complained about the dishes. The talk at the table could have been pleasant, but all I could see was the dreaded task of washing the dishes.
I failed to see the great blessing of having a home-cooked meal shared with those who loved me. I failed to see the blessing of my dad who worked hard to provide for us, and my mom who spent time and effort to prepare a delicious meal. I failed to see my sister and the help she gave my mom in preparing the meal, because all I saw was the pile of dirty dishes. I was ungrateful to my family, and more importantly, I was ungrateful to my God.
There is a poem on our fridge that originally was in my wife’s childhood home:
Thank God for dirty dishes; they have a tale to tell;
While others may go hungry, we’re eating very well.
With home and health and happiness I shouldn’t want to fuss;
For by the stack of evidence, God’s been good to us.”
Moses had endured much hardship in the wilderness and faced hunger, thirst, and a million people who murmured against him and even sought to kill him. When Moses first saw his father-in-law, Jethro, he chose to give praise to almighty God for His deliverance instead of complain about all he had endured.
Moses had been separated from his father-in law for quite some time, and there was great joy at this reunion. Moses immediately began to tell Jethro all the good God had done, and he had a lot to tell as he had experienced firsthand the goodness and power of God. He had seen the Red Sea parted, manna come down from heaven, and water pour out from a rock. Moses was quick to speak of all God had done, and it showed his heart of gratitude towards God. He did not focus on the “sink full of dishes”, but he choose instead to be thankful for the grace and goodness of God.
What about you? Do you focus on the “dishes” that build up in the sink, or are you grateful for God’s provision that was on the plate? How is your reaction when you see a loved one? Do they have to hear of all your problems and drama, or are they encouraged by your retelling of all that God has done in and through your struggles? Complaining is contagious, but praising God is contagious as well. It is amazing the change in demeanor when one starts to give praise and glory to God. God is worthy to be praised as He is a good God. Psalm 106:1 states, “Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” God is good, all the time!