Complain or Create

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

There is a cute story about a boy who had been dating a girl for some time. One night he carried her out to a very romantic spot. The moon was full and there were plenty of stars out. He gazed into her eyes and said, “If I had a thousand arms, they would all be embracing you. If I had a thousand lips, they would all be kissing you. If I had…” At that point she stopped him and said, “Quit complaining about what you don’t have and use what you do have!”

It always easier to complain about what we don’t have. The most productive thing in life is to use what we do have. One day the disciples were faced with a crowd of 5,000 people who were hungry. Many of them were complaining about no food. Andrew found one little boy who did have five loaves and two fish. He decided to use what he did have. And look what Jesus did with it! (Matthew 14:13-21)

Businesses that are successful figure out ways to use their resources. Let me give you a couple of examples.

There is a small town in Georgia that has created a mini manufacturing boom in an area that you would never guess. They are selling chopsticks to China!

The little town is Americus, Georgia. The state’s poplar and sweet gum trees are ideal wood for making chopsticks. Some people just decided to use what they have. They turn out up to 10 million of them a week!

This has already created 80 new jobs, and they hope to hire about 70 more people soon. David Hughes is the company director and he is a strong advocate that a lot of jobs can be created and small towns can become productive if people are willing to look at what they have and find a market for it.

I have been to Stuttgart, Arkansas to preach several times. The Methodist Church there is one of the great churches in Arkansas. David Bush is the Senior Pastor. Stuttgart holds the distinction of being the Rice Capital of the World and also the Duck Hunting Capital of the World. The area used to grow rice enables Stuttgart to sell more rice than anywhere else in this country. I asked a couple of the leading people there about their main competition. I asked if China was the main competition. They said, “No, we sell a lot of rice to China.”

After the rice season, they turn those rice paddies into ideal places where ducks like to come. I still don’t understand who gives the ducks direction to come directly to Stuttgart, but they visit Stuttgart. The duck season brings into the community about $90 million in 90 days.

Stuttgart and Americans know a simple Biblical principle: creative use of what you have will beat complaining about what you don’t have every time!

Moses demonstrates this principle in Exodus 15:24, 25 (NAS) – “So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”

Creating always beats complaining!

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