Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitute vs Complaining

Its always easier to complain and think about negative things about a person or situation rather than thinking of the positive or the good. A very interesting behavioral pattern I notice in my school is this - in our school, food and lodging comes in as a package for all who live in the single room hostel. This is rightfully so because we are not allowed to cook in the hostel.

Off course, one can imagine canteen food - to a certain extend, there is a standard menu that the operator will need to use as a guide ... and yes, I have to say that Uncle Liew's menu is too predictable sometimes -- BF (its fried bihun, mi or koey teow with scrambled egg and bread through I do recall Uncle Liew in my first year gave us the option of ta-bao or even one lo-mai-kai sometimes), Tuesday lunch - chicken rice, Thur is plain Teowchew porridge, Sat lunch - nasi lemak and the rest of the meals is two vegie and 1 meat though most of the time is chicken. So, there was complain - the food too oily, too salty, no taste .... not enough, dishes given too little, too spicy, not spicy ... everyday chicken - Indonesian chicken, Indian chicken, Malaysian chicken, Vietnamese chicken, Singaporean chicken ... in other words ... its chicken all the way ... watermelon everyday .... statements like -- too much of meat is not good for health ... then there is another group that says -- oo not enough meat ... give us mutton!!! and another ... i don't eat mutton or pork .... and so ................................ on ..........................

So, it was considered a successful complain for improvement and the rights of hostelites (interesting choice of thoughts and words for a group of people who are undergoing training to be "fulltimers" - as servants, laborers, ku-li in God's field) when in my final semester, the canteen operator was changed suddenly.

So, we now have a new canteen operator .... the operator has chains of outlets -- so, in that sense, he is able to cater better choice of menu. Now, we get a host of difference in the breakfast - bread and fried rice is the set menu but alternately, we have Singapore laksa (who will ever dream of having this as bf here!!), loh-mi (wow!!!), keoy teow teng with fishball, mi-rebus (can you beat that -- they even have Malay menu!!!) and off course sometimes porridge or fried noddle! I think that the BF is menu is fantastic! Then for lunch and dinner -- we will have the norm of 2 vegie and 1 meat and soup and 1 type of fruit. The amount of dish that is given to us -- I got to tell aunty many times --"gou lek"

But .... it is very surprising that the same song can be heard from the dining hall though (I personally think) there is much improvement done to the choice of menu as well as quantity and quality. First it was --- ooo they waste so much of money making the dining area beautiful when they could save the money to give us better food .... then the song begins -- ooo ... its too oily, too much msg, too salty, no taste, always chicken ....... and so on ....

The best part, now the song has a bridge : oooo .... why is the fruit cut and placed in the plastic bag .... its so not environmental friendly ... we must speak out ... save mother earth!!! faint!

It is indeed very wearisome and tiresome listening to the same song day in day out as I try to relax and enjoy my meal sometimes .... like what Proverbs say about nagging wives --- its really like a dripping umbrella .....

I keep wondering --- why is the same song being sung even after the change of operator? And I realize that it is actually in our sinful nature to have this nagging complaining spirit more than a thankful heart. I mean --- there are people who do not have money to pay for their food. And I see my brothers from the married quarters coming down to take meals from the hostelites who are not eating in for that day -- and never once they ever complain.They always take their bowls with food humbling walking off smiling because there is provision for the day.

Are we arrogant and "nasty" just because we are paying for the food? Must we assert our "request for improvement" in menus or quality of food according to our own selfish desires? Have we forgotten the fact that we are living in Singapore, among international students that sometimes what we 'request" may not be suitable for them? Or at the end of the "request" the operator may not be earning much? Have we become petty and demanding in the way we should be "served"? Have we forgotten that we are first and foremost selected and appointed to be here in TTC to be trained as servants, laborers and ki-li-s .... is this the right attitude? What type of testimony do we give to the operator and their staff? Do we bring shame to the name of Jesus, our Boss, the One who had selected and appointed us here?

I agree with Ron's statement of the sunset pix that I posted -- and I quote --- "it is a matter of perspective. it is either the imprisonment of the sun by the fence, or the beautiful sunset can never be imprisonment. =)." Its a matter of perspective how we view the three meals that is provided for us ..... it is God's provision for us ... we say grace and thanks before we eat .... what does it say about us when we just give thanks and the next moment we sing songs of complain and lament over the very same food we gave thanks for? Remember the brothers from the married quarters never complain when they get their meals .... what does that say about us ... that we have the rights to be assertive and ensure our views are heard because we paid (or our sponsor pay for our food)? Remember how was Jesus attitude when He took His final steps on earth? He never deserve the unfair treatment, injustice, the punishment ... yet He choose to walk this path because He wants to love us .... He choose because the souls of mankind matters to Him most at the end of the day .... where have we placed our perspectives?

Found this in the book I was reading : THANKS ---- and I hope I can remember to have a thankful and grateful attitude all the time :

T : telling God and others the difference they've made in our lives

H : humbly responding as if we do not deserve anything
"Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything" - Thomas Merton

A : accepting our needs for others

N : not taking things for granted

K : killing our enemies and problems by adjusting our attitude

S : standing out in the crowd

Ten lepers were healed ... only one said return to say thank you ...

Do everything without complaining and arguing so that you may shine like stars (Phil 2:14-15)

Can people see the difference we make as we stand out in the crowd .... among the people that God has place in our lives and make a difference for our Master?

Can we change our attitude so that Christ can shine in us and through us ... Can we stand out in the crowd for Jesus, our Master and Boss?


~CaNDz~the CLAY said...

Hello, Hello!!! TESTING! testing 1 2 3

~CaNDz~the CLAY said...

Great post! thanks for the inspiring message.

ing said...

hahahha .. dah boleh masuk! thanks for helping me "test2" ....

Maria said...

I suspect the ones who complain are Singaporeans since complaining is a national pastime (plus it is the nature of our sinful and fallen natures to be ungrateful or blind to our blessings).

This makes me wonder about the spiritual formation and spiritual character of those who claim to be called by the Lord to serve in His vineyard. This also makes me think about the attitude of entitlement that some Christians have believing that since they have "sacrificed" something to enter full-time ministry, they should be "taken care of" because the israelites were commanded to provide for the Levites (the priesthood). Rather than have the mind of Christ, some who are preparing to enter the ordained ministry/lay ministry/missionary service actually end up behaving quite pompously and arrogantly.

Unless some life-transformation takes place in theological college as well, those who leave this place (TTC) will simply bring the same spirit of complaining to the churches and vineyards where they go to serve.

May God have mercy on us!

Pride and arrogance do not serve ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ well.

Have the mind of Christ...

Btw, may we also remember as we approach Holy Week, that "the Spirit of the Lord is upon me ... to bring release to the captives..." May we be set free from being captivated by our own self-interest and self-serving ways.

Thanks for your post.