Shining Like (Five) Stars

My bride and I have been planning a long-awaited getaway to celebrate our 30th anniversary, which was actually last week. Because we don’t do this kind of thing very often, we really have felt the pressure to get it right. So, we have made sure to read all the reviews on the internet for all the places we considered going.

Some of the reviews are predictable–ranking them by “stars”–but others are more than a little confusing. The comments from travelers are all over the place for the same resort. Half are glowing reports of wonderful vacations, filled with positive comments, while the other half are ridiculously critical and negative. It makes you wonder if these people both had gone to the same resorts.
I’m sure the experience varies from week to week, and from person to person, when it comes to a hotel or resort, and I know also that expectations are different from one traveler to the next. But it’s still surprising that some people are so pleased, while others are so disappointed.
Now, there are reasons why you have these sites where real people offer their real-life reviews. They can be very helpful, even for the resort being criticized. No one wants a negative review, but then again, you can’t correct something you don’t know about, so for the hotel manager who pays attention it can certainly be a useful tool for quality control.
Likewise, for the frugal traveler trying to get the best deal for the best price, in a far away place, it’s helpful to get an idea where you are going. No doubt, a pattern of negative reviews helps you screen out certain places. But when you read all the mixed reviews, it makes you question the whole process. How do we know which of these strangers to believe?
Something tells me that if I you hung around some of those people on the other side of the keyboard, it wouldn’t be hard to guess which ones made which comments. Some people, by personality, are just hard to please. Or as I’ve often observed, some people just aren’t happy unless they have something to be unhappy about. Just take a few minutes and scroll down your Facebook feed and it won’t take long to notice what I’m talking about. Whining is epidemic, and for some it is a way of life.
“Murmuring,” to borrow an Old Testament word, reflects a heart of discontentment, and the Bible consistently suggests that such an attitude is never fitting for us who are followers of Jesus. The apostle Paul said it this way: “Doeverything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”(Phil.2:14)
That’s quite a statement. Do you want to stand out as children of God in this crooked and depraved world? Put away your critical spirit, and stop whining! The world will take notice that you’re different, and in the end you’ll be far more contented and happy as you make your way through life.
One final review: It sure is a joy to be pastor of such a great church@ I give you all “five stars”. I can’t wait to see y’all again on Sunday.
–Pastor Ken