1 Thessalonians 4:11

Monday, 7 August 2017

…that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 1 Thessalonians 4:11

Paul’s words here form a paradox. He says that the Thessalonians are to “also aspire to lead a quiet life.” The sense given is that they are to strive to be quiet. In other words, it would be comparable to saying , “So contained should believers be, that they are actually to be willing to jump out of their skin in order to remain that way.” The words thus indicate a superlative nature involved in our striving for a quiet life.

Next he says, “to mind your own business.” Christians are not to be busybodies. It is explicitly stated by Paul in his second letter to this same group of people –

For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11, 12

In this, we are only to express our opinions and actions in regards to others’ lives when we are asked to do so. Other than that, we are to mind our own business, leaving others to what pleases them.

Next he says, “and to work with your own hands.” Paul had set the example for them. He came and ministered to them, and yet he continued to work in his profession as a tent maker. It may be that as the Thessalonians went out to tell others about the Lord, that they became indolent towards productive work. In this, they would then become a burden on others.

It could also be, as Paul will hint at in his next letter, that the believers were so caught up in the fact that Jesus might be returning soon, that they just sat around talking about the rapture and getting nothing productive done in the meantime. Unfortunately, that same sad type of conduct continues on today. Rapture seekers find all kinds of reasons to do nothing productive for themselves or for the church as they make ridiculous predictions about the coming rapture. Every time a prediction fails, another pops up to replace it.

Finally he says, “as we commanded you.” His words are not new. Rather, they have already been noted while he was present with them. Word probably came back to him that these things were being neglected. Because of this, he is once again reminding them of the need to act in these important ways. Should they fail, there would be disunity and disharmony among the believers, and discredit upon the faith in the eyes of non-believers. Obviously, these precepts remain the same, and those who do not follow them fall into exactly these same unhappy results.

Life application: If you are a busybody, an idle person, or a rapture-speculator, Paul’s words should speak out to you today. We need to keep our noses out of other folk’s business, we need to be diligent in work, and we need to let the Lord decide on when He will return. He will come at exactly the right moment. To not act in the manner Paul instructs only stains the name of Christ in the eyes of others, and it brings unnecessary division to the body.

Lord God, Your word tells us that we are to be diligent in work, not idle. It also tell us that we are to mind our own business and not put our noses into the affairs of others. In general these precepts have really been lost to the modern church, and in this we then bring a stain upon Your name in the eyes of others. Help us to be obedient to Your word and to only bring honor and credit to Your name. Amen.

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