"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."
|The Apostle Paul|
This missive is part of a letter that Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica. The bustling seaport city of Thessalonica was located at the junction of the great Egnatian Way and the road leading north to the Danube River. Its population was around 200,000, and it was the largest city in ancient Macedonia, as well as the capital of its province.
Although a church had been established, the converts were new to their faith, and had little external support. They were subject to persecution and corrupt influences. Paul gives them the above instructions in order to encourage them to continue in a godly lifestyle. And it is encouragement that we could use today! I'm afraid if Saint Paul suddenly appeared in America today, he would be greatly discouraged!
As I have expressed before, I am growing weary of our culture and the world. What Paul describes is exactly the kind of lifestyle I want to live. The prospect of being left alone isn't repugnant to me; to live a quiet life, minding my own business (and no one minding mine!) sounds wonderful. I want to spend my days working with my hands and seeing the fruits of my labor.
Unfortunately, the steps I've taken to accomplish this are not met with understanding or admiration. So many people in my life think the direction we are taking is offbeat and too reactionary. I see people still clinging to the suggestions of an affluent and comfortable society. I'm not sure which is more dominant in their thinking..... fear or indifference.
They can't understand why I'm more excited about learning how to pressure can my garden produce than I am about the latest episode of "Army Wives" or "America's Got Talent". Going out to eat and shopping don't bring me comfort anymore. And if I dare suggest that I am spending more time studying my Bible, they really think I am off my rocker! I feel as though there is a separation coming; a widening of the gap; or a parting of the ways between "us" and "them". Maybe it is inevitable.
And perhaps Paul was trying to say that is OK. He is saying "Go, ahead. Live your simple life; follow it daily. Hopefully your life will be an example to others, that they might respect how you live. If not, then it is their loss, but you will know how to live a successful and a spirit-led life, and need not depend on anyone."
Because I assure you, as Troubled Times come our way, "they" will realize that they are woefully unprepared. When others all around are panicking, we will be calm and purposeful; having discerned the direction we should take. It won't be easy for us either, but at least we will know how to react and Who to turn to.