Ambition#1. “Mind your own business.”

Ambition#1. “Mind your own business.”

There is a silly joke about a lady who was being plied with questions by a rather nosy acquaintance. The enquirer asked all manner of personal questions, and finally touched a raw nerve when she asked about her husband’s occupation. The lady responded curtly, “My husband has his own business, and he is at home minding it!”

At first glance, we might find it strange that the apostle Paul tells the Thessalonian church to “Make it their ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). After all, the nearest that he ever came to settling down was when he was incarcerated. Otherwise, he was continually on the move, and continually interrupting the lives of others with the Gospel.

It is commonly accepted that the Thessalonian brethren got everything right except their response to the Second Coming of Christ. Paul’s emphasis on his own physical labour, and his command that they were to “warn those who are idle” (1 Thessalonians 5:14), showed his concern that they had “downed tools” in anticipation of Jesus’ imminent return.”

In Paul’s Second Letter he addressed the problem of idleness head-on! He told them, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). And repeating his admonition that, “such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:12).

When a Christian is not in the business of meeting his obligations as a provider, he will be in the business of others. “They are not busy,” Paul said, “they are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11).

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “Idle hands are the devil’s playthings.” He was not wrong!

John Staiger

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