1 Thessalonians 4
Paul’s plea to the Thessalonian church, and TO US, “You know how much you love one another; how you have been taught by God to love one another? Do that! And then do it MORE and MORE.” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10, my paraphrase)
You might be surprised how Paul says to go about this Gospel-sharing, people-loving, soul-saving life…
Mind your own affairs.
Work with your hands.
And if you know Paul at all, you know this in no way is an exhortation to forget the plight of those suffering, compromise truth, or silence the Gospel message. Paul is all about the needs of others, proclaiming truth, warning of false teachers and cultural traps, and above all sharing the Good News. But this is a check on how we are living it out. And truthfully, looking around, this isn’t a popular stance in much of our culture today. But then again, when have the ways of Jesus ever been popular? I think back at some of my Christian heroes and they spoke truth, loved well, cared deeply for the oppressed...and lived a quiet life, minded their business well, and worked so very hard with their hands.
What is the opposite of living quietly? Seeking All. The. Lights. And. Sparkle. And. Fanfare. And. Praise. Loud, obnoxious, attention-seeking, panic-inducing, fight-picking and nit-picking. It is the flipside of a posture of peace and oneness with God who is in control. Matthew Henry says, “Satan is very busy to stir us up, and also in our own hearts we get stirred up, therefore let us study to be quiet.” Paul says we should make it our AMBITION – our job – to live quietly. Not ineffectively or silently or unproductively, but quietly. Humbly.
What is the opposite of minding our own affairs? Getting all up in everyone else’s business when you have no business being there. Meddling, comparing, critiquing, tearing down, gossiping, speaking for. Paul says we should mind our own business. Focus on our own affairs; on the mission and work in front of us.
What is the opposite of working with our hands? Laziness, idleness, entitlement. Paul says we should work with our hands. God works through our working. Do the beautiful work you were created to do.
And remember it is all in the name of love. Loving God and loving others SO MUCH we want more than anything — our platform, our voice, our right to be right — for them to know and love Him too. Because love does win.
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