Thursdays With Spurgeon—Beware Of Grumblers

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

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Beware Of Grumblers 

     None is so wise as the man who knows nothing. His ignorance is the mother of his impudence and the nurse of his obstinacy; and though he does not know a bee from a bull’s foot, he settles matters as if all wisdom were at his fingers’ ends—the pope himself is not more infallible. Hear him talk after he has been at a meeting and heard a sermon, and you will know how to pull a good man to pieces if you never knew it before. He sees faults where there are none; and if there be a few things amiss, he makes every mouse into an elephant. … 

     Those who know nothing are confident in everything; hence they are bullheaded beyond measure. Every clock and even the sundial must be set according to their watches. … Venture to argue with them, and their little pots boil over in quick style; ask them for a reason, and you might as well go to a sandpit for sugar. … 

     Faultfinding is dreadfully catching: One dog will set a whole kennel howling, and the wisest course is to keep out of the way of a man who has the complaint called the grumbles. … Dogs, however, always will bark; and what is worse, some of them will bite, too. But let decent people do all they can, if not to muzzle them, yet to prevent them from doing any great mischief.

From John Ploughman’s Talks of Plain Advice For Plain People

Charles Spurgeon—the prince of preachers—could also use a sarcastic tone to a great effect when it was needed! This whole book was supposed to be a sort of “shop talk” to the everyday working man. These are not flowery sermons, but straight-shooting for decent people. 

I have just completed a short series of messages on the distinct ways grateful people stand out from the crowd. But isn’t it just as true that those who constantly grumble about anything and everything also stand out from the crowd? 

Spurgeon was right that grumbling and faultfinding are dreadfully catching! King Solomon says that we waste our time trying to reason with such foolish people who believe themselves to be smarter than the rest of us. So Solomon’s advice is to simply leave them alone. 

Indeed, the best way to avoid catching the contagion of grumbling is to stay away from grumblers. If you have the misfortune of living with a grumbler or perhaps working next to a grumbler, the best way to “walk away” is to simply not engage in their faultfinding “barking.” Maybe you could even answer their complaint by pointing out something for which you are grateful. 

Let’s all make sure we’re not the grumbling, barking, growling dogs that Spurgeon identifies in this passage, and then let’s do all we can to keep the contagion of a grumbler contained. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, “Don’t be overcome by grumbling, but overcome grumbling by walking away or with gratitude” (Romans 12:21).

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