But we urge you, brothers, to do this [love] 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… 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11
Paul’s plea to the Thessalonian church (and TO US) goes something like this: “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.”
You might be surprised how Paul says to go about this Gospel-sharing, people-loving, soul-saving life… Live quietly. Mind your own affairs. Work with your hands.
As we study Paul’s life, we 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.
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. Paul is not talking about living ineffectively or silently or unproductively, but instead 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.
What is the opposite of working with our hands? Laziness, idleness, entitlement.
Live quietly; humbly; purposefully. Mind your own affairs. Work hard with your hands in all that God has called you to. Love others well.
Questions: How effective are you at living quietly? Minding your own affairs? Working with your hands? Loving others?
For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 1 Thessalonians 2:1
Though Paul only had a few short weeks teaching the Thessalonians before being run out of the city, his impact was anything but short-lived. Paul shares a beautiful example of the foundation for true, lasting, and impactful ministry. Because the truth is, as believers, we all have a ministry….to our family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. We are all called to share the Gospel and make disciples.
What we don’t do is often as important as what we do. Paul starts with the “did nots” – the things he DID NOT do.
They did not… Come with erroneous words, impurity or an attempt to deceive. They did not seek to please man or try to win them over with words of flattery. They did not come with a pretext of greed, making it all about them. They did not seek glory from people.
And the “did nots” are crucial because they are the things that all too often hinder us. The things that blemish our testimony. The things that create conflict, skepticism, and cynicism. The things that ultimately tear down, rather than build up, the body of Christ. They are the seeds the devil sows to throw us all off track.
Instead, Paul came with… Boldness IN God. Seeking to please God. Gentleness. Desirous of them to know God. Sharing not only the Gospel, but themselves. Loving and serving. Toiling and laboring, working night and day to not be a burden. Exhorting them. Encouraging them. Charging them to walk in a manner worthy of God. Reminding them that God calls them into the kingdom of God.
Think of what could be accomplished for the kingdom with this purity in message and delivery. When it is all about God and others, not us. When we love and submit and serve others rather than ourselves. God, let it be so in our lives for always.
Questions: Do you believe you have a ministry where you are? How can you implement Paul’s do/do nots? Which stand out to you?