Finally brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, and in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. ... Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 NIV).
What if we heed his instructions "to live in order to please God"?
What if that became our goal and our first priority?
Our ambition becomes we are concerned about pleasing God more than we are concerned about pleasing our employer, our friends, and our co-workers ... even more than pleasing our spouse.
What would change in our lives if we put pleasing God first?
What would need to change to make that possible?
What if we made it our ambition to "lead a quiet life"?
A quiet life ... can we even grasp what that would be like?
Our world is typically so busy, so noisy, so rushed, and so complicated, that living a quiet life may seem like an impossible thing. Yet, Paul urged us "to lead a quiet life." Jesus exemplified the importance of quiet times and not allowing the agendas of those around us to control us. What would a quiet life look like for you? You might need to slow down. You might need to take an afternoon off. You might need to get some rest. You might need to change your goals. Your lifestyle might need an overhaul. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life."
What if we made it our ambition to "mind our own business"?
Wow! That's a tough one. That's tough for a parent. That's tough for a husband. That's tough for a wife. That's tough for friends. That's tough for church members. Have you ever said to someone, "I wish you would just mind your own business and let me live my life the way I want to live it?" Has anyone ever said that to you? That feeling of frustration you experienced when someone tried to tell you how to do your job, or raise your children, or live your life is perhaps what Paul was trying to prevent by telling us to mind our own business. Don't frustrate others by minding their business for them. You mind your own business.
What if we made it our ambition to "work with our hands"?
Some other interpretations say, "do your own job" or "work hard." Regardless of the interpretation, the message is still the same: we all have a job to do and God has gifted us to do it ... so do it. It may not be too big of a stretch to say, "Don't be lazy." Or, maybe "Do what you were placed here to do." Remember Paul's words to the Ephesians?
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10).
We can speculate on the result of such a life, but we really don't need to because Paul tells us what would happen if we follow his instructions: our daily lives will win the respect of outsiders and won't be dependent to anybody.
That sounds like a pretty good plan to me. It sounds almost simple, doesn't it?
Don't you suppose God planned it that way?
Is it possible we have complicated this thing called life more than the Creator ever intended?
"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands ..."
Let's try it! God's Word promises that it will be worth it.