November 30, 2021 – Tuesday
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NIV
11 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,
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NASB
11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we instructed you,
Take a moment to look at the verse above and you will discover it is a continuation of the prior verse and continues to the next verse. Let’s see how that looks altogether using the NIV, And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 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, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. Verse 9 was about loving one another as God had taught them, thus the And in verse 10.
Going back to verse 11, I want you to notice it says to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. which I heard two members of the church discussing Sunday afternoon during the lunch we share. I did not recall the verse from any earlier reading so I was curious as to what it might mean. While I listened to the discussion, part of it was about whether or not leading a quiet life would preclude one from participating in any kind of demonstration or protest. That is the genesis for today’s verse.
First I looked at a number of Bible versions and most that titled sections gave verses 1-12 a title such as A Life That Pleases God or The Call to Sanctification. This makes sense as first eight verses of chapter four are about holiness and sexual purity as well as not taking advantage of a fellow believer. The final four verses of this section are about a commitment to loving and serving others, especially within the church. The final two verses say the purpose of this working with your hands was to win the respect of outsiders without being dependent upon anyone.
Paul’s focus here shows up in 5:14, And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. There was a great deal of disruption by those who were idle. It was a problem that continued and was so bad Paul had to address it in his second letter to the Thessalonians in 3:6, In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. And again, in verse 11, We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. There was evidence in both letters that some Thessalonians had simply stopped working expecting (hoping) that Jesus would return soon. Paul’s instructions were clear, whether Jesus was returning soon or not, they (we!) were to be working, being useful, and not being disruptive or busybodies.
Now let’s look at what leading a quiet life would mean and what it would avoid. Clearly it would mean doing our best to avoid being disruptive in the church and outside as well. This would be especially true in a place like Thessalonica where Christians were commonly discriminated against. It would also mean an avoidance of gossiping or being a busybody up to no good. Instead, you lead a quiet life by minding your own business while working with your hands avoiding idleness.
Looking at the word quiet, Matthew Poole’s commentary says, To be quiet is to be of a peaceable temper and carriage, as the Greek word hsucazein importeth both; and stands contrary to strife, contention, division, either upon a civil or religious account. Other commentaries note that being ambitious to be quiet is in reality an oxymoron as any worldly ambition would exclude quietness. Paul may as well have said, Make your ambition to have no ambition! (Cambridge Bible) Thus, worldly ambition is to be avoided if one is to be able to live a quiet life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Let my ambition to lead a quiet life grow and grow as I seek you and not the so called glories of the world. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Daytonin Beavercreek