There is something so special and nostalgic about the first couple of jobs you ever had. I was very blessed in high school and college to have some fun or unique jobs until I began my ministry as a full-time worship leader. During the summers in high school, I would work at the kids’ day camp at the Waterford location. Each day was different in this job, from pelting kids with dodgeballs to trying to help make sure a bus survived the drive from Waterford to Cleveland for a baseball game. In college, I spent time working at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office and at a doctor’s office processing blood samples. Both of those jobs I was woefully underqualified for, but both were such unique experiences in my life.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12, we read, “For that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to 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.”
Each and every day our goal as believers should be to grow in our walk with Christ. Within this growth, each and every aspect of our life should be impacted. This section of Scripture in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is all about continuing to grow more and more in the Lord, and Paul addresses some very practical things in the Thessalonians’ lives where he wants them to grow. The first thing Paul says is to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” I want to first say what Paul is not saying. He is not saying never to speak out against anything. Christians can use this verse as an excuse to put their blinders on and never speak out against sin or injustice.
We have the example of Jesus going town to town preaching messages that were contrary and highly offensive to the current culture. As we grow in our Christian walk, we need to grow in wisdom trying to discern when it is time to speak up and when it is the time to hold our tongues.
It seems in this passage that the believers in Thessalonica were getting distracted from their work, becoming a distraction and a burden to other people, while also being a bad example to those around them that were not Christians. The first thing Paul is encouraging us to do in this section of Scripture is to work hard. Since the beginning of time, people have had jobs. Even before sin entered the Garden of Eden, Adam was given the job of taking care of the animals and the plants in the garden.
Genesis 2:15 records, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
God has equipped each and every one of us with the ability to do a job, and do that job well. We are called to work hard in whatever we do. Work, jobs, and responsibilities are all ordained by the Lord in our lives, and we work to honor Him.
Colossians 3:23-24 is a great reminder and command, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
We do not work for the approval of man but we work for the Lord. I want you to be encouraged today and know that whatever kind of work you do, you can honor and glorify the Lord through it. You can be used as a witness to those that are not believers through that job.
Instead of working hard, believers in Thessalonica were neglecting their work and becoming slothful. This neglect of their work was leading to multiple different issues. Instead of working, they were bothering and distracting other people who were being faithful and working hard. I absolutely love working in an office environment where people are free to walk around, talk to one another, and bounce ideas off each other. However, there are definitely times when I am trying to get work done, and I will have someone in my ear wanting to talk about the latest Marvel movie or most recent sporting event. That is what I picture happening here in Thessalonica. While people were trying to be productive, these slothful believers were constantly in their ears trying to talk about whatever gossip there was. That is why Paul tells them to “live quietly and mind your own affairs.”
An area of growth that I see needed in many believers is being okay not knowing everything that is going on. It is always great to be able to pray for someone, but sometimes “prayer requests” can just be gossip in disguise. When I read “mind your own affairs” in my head I hear Paul telling them to “mind your business!” Sometimes, there are things happening in other people’s lives that do not involve us, and that is okay. We should not be constantly talking about other people and what they are struggling with. This can become a distraction from the work that the Lord has put in front of us to accomplish.
Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”
Ephesians 4:29 adds, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
The Bible is serious about how we speak and what we speak about. We need to make sure we are more concerned about honoring God in our own lives than gossiping around what others are struggling with.
When we fail to follow the instructions of Paul from 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 we ultimately give Christians a bad name. If the world sees us as lazy, rude, or nosey it makes the world less likely to want to have what we have. We do not want to be known for these sinful things, instead, we should be an example to the world of the amazing fruitfulness that being a believer can produce in us. Knowing that we are working for Christ should make us dedicated and hard-working. Also, knowing that we are all God’s children should make us want to love each other and respect each other instead of gossiping and negatively being in everyone’s business.
John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Ultimately, when we talk about spiritual growth, it needs to be evident in our actions and how we live our life. This can show itself in so many different ways, including how we work and interact with other believers. My challenge today is that you work hard in whatever area the Lord currently has you working in and that you honor and support other believers. We do this so that ultimately we can show the world what an amazing Savior we serve so that they would want to give their lives to Christ as well.