“…aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
(1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 ESV)
In this day and age, we all have something to say. We have something to say about absolutely everything. We have something to say about politics. We have something to say about community needs. We have something to say about tragedies that have occurred. We have something to say about others, and the way that they conduct themselves. And we want to be heard.
Not only do we have this desire to be heard, we have the means to make it happen. Not only do we have our family and friends with whom we can share our opinions. We literally plaster our lives, sentiments, and thoughts for everyone to see. We post them on Facebook. We post them on Twitter. We state our position and then argue it with absolutely everyone. We do so with family, friends, and even complete strangers.
We also have a desire to be a somebody. We want to be known. We want to be seen and recognized for what we do. We want to be admired and viewed as a success. In fact, we want to be celebrated.
We aren’t content to live our life in obscurity. We aren’t satisfied to remain unknown. We’re scared that our life might be viewed as insignificant or inconsequential.
However, in the above passage, Paul calls us to the opposite way of thinking. He calls us to the opposite way of life. He encourages us to live quietly. He calls on us to a peaceful and a restful existence.
It’s OK to be anonymous. It’s OK if we’re unimportant or insignificant in the eyes of the world. In fact, it’s quite peaceful when this is true of us. And this is the life to which we are called.
He calls on us, also, to mind our own affairs. Some translations tell us to mind our own business. Instead of focusing on the happenings in the lives of everyone else, we’re to tend to our own concerns and responsibilities. We’re to place our focus on that which has been entrusted to us.
This doesn’t restrict us from lovingly watching out for others. It doesn’t forbid us to lovingly care for others. However, it does prohibit our busybody tendencies. It bars us from the gossip that flows from our nosey, meddlesome ways.
Finally, he calls us to work with our hands. Living a quiet and a peaceful life doesn’t mean that we live a lazy life. We are to work hard. We’re to be diligent. We’re to do so that we might walk properly before others and that we might be dependent on no one.
Let us seek such a life. Let us ask God to show us the value of such a life, and to empower us in it. Let us confess to him our failure to live this life. And let us look to him for the grace and mercy we so desperately need.