…and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, – 1Thess. 4:11 NIV
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The Church in Thessalonica was one of the many Christian groups that the Apostle Paul had Grace to be the founder of during his second missionary journey. Although he spent a very short period, which some believe to be three weeks while some believe was three months, due to persecution, the impact he had on the people was definitely strong as many accepted his message of Salvation and became Christians. Like a good mentor and probably knowing the shortness of the period he could spend with them, he decided to check on their progress and also to further encourage them to hold on to the teachings that they had received, not minding whatever persecution he or any of them may be experiencing.
As part of his first letter to the body of Christ in that City, he gave a series of advise on the need for them to aim at pleasing Jehovah in the way they lived their lives. One of such ways is contained in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional. They are to
- Make it their ambition to lead a quiet life.
- They should mind their own business.
- They should work with their hands.
Ordinarily, the three points above could have been points identified and presented by motivational speakers to anyone who desires peace and progress in life, but the Apostle Paul raised the significance of these points higher by making it clear that working with them was not going to only benefit the Christian, but will actually make the Christian live a life that will be pleasing to Jehovah.
Most Christians today fall short of this standard and this has contributed in no small measure to the obvious reduction or complete absence of peace and prosperity in the body of Christ. In an act of obvious abuse of the doctrine of communism and welfarism that is taught in the scriptures, many have turned themselves into financial nuisance and pests in the body of Christ such that Christianity is now been projected as a religion for the destitute and the needy. It is like the Christian god does not prosper His adherents, with the level of poverty being experienced in the Church today. Most Christians come to church with the intention to take and not give, forgetting that if all were to come with such intentions, there will be no one to give. This is not to say that there will ever be a time when there will be no one in need of help as even the bible confirms that the needy will always be present amongst the children of God and so encouraged giving so that there numbers will be reduced continuously (Deut. 15:11), but it becomes a different issue entirely if a Christian takes a permanent seat amongst the needy. If that decision is right with such a Christian, the Apostle Paul reveals that such a lifestyle will not be pleasing to Jehovah.
It is however expected that all Christians will aspire to live a life pleasing to Jehovah and the Apostle Paul believes that these three points will be very important for such objective to be achieved.
- The Christian that intends to live a life pleasing to Jehovah must have the ambition to lead a quiet life. Ambition is a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. The Apostle Paul knows that determination and hardwork alone may not be sufficient to avoid some disquiet in one’s lifestyle but there must be very obvious evidence that such is willing to lead a quiet life by the targets set, and the level of hardwork and sacrifice that such is willing to put into realising such targets. Living a quiet life will never come by accident but by design.
- The Christian that intends to live a life pleasing to Jehovah should mind his/her own business. Most people have chosen to be involved in several issues most of which they do not have to be involved with. One’s business will be issues that affect one either directly or affect individuals or situations for which one is responsible. It must however be made clear that the fact that a decision may affect someone does not make such a person one of the decision makers, and so the process of arriving at that decision may not be ones business. The responsibility for arriving at that decision belongs to those who have been saddled with such task. You may have a business with selecting the king but it may not be your business to be involved in the decision making processes of the king. Ability to know what issue is your business and which, is not, will be one of the ways to successfully live a life pleasing to Jehovah. That will also save such a person from unnecessary disruptions in their private life.
- The Christian that intends to live a life pleasing to Jehovah should work with their hands. Not working with one’s hands is easily translated in most cases as being idle, with such a person regarded generally as potentially “the Devil’s workshop”. The bible says that the one who is idle has no right to food – 2Thess. 3:10. Indeed, there will be people who desire to work but may not have the opportunity to do so. Such will expected to keep themselves busy with one form of productive venture or the other, though it may not be financially rewarding. The one who cannot engage in productive activities has little or no chance of living a life pleasing to Jehovah.
Although the above three points are in no way exhaustive of how the Christian can live a life pleasing to Jehovah, they are in no doubt significant sufficiently to put one in good stead with Him. The one major expectation of Jehovah is that human beings, whom He created in His image, will live to please him and anything short of that will be great disappointment for Him. It is indeed your life but do all you can to live it in a manner that will make Him be pleased with you. That is one way to receive His necessary mercy and favour. May our life style continue to please Him in Jesus name. Amen.