There is a passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 I love and it describes how to have peace and have all your needs met.
It is short and simple, yet profoundly difficult.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
“Brothers & Sisters, we urge you to love even more and make it your goal to lead a peaceful life, mind your own business, and keep your hands busy in your work, as we have instructed you. That way, you will live peacefully with those on the outside, and all your needs will be met without depending on others.”
I think all of us would agree that we want to lead a peaceful life and it seems that it should be relatively easy to accomplish that. Apparently, in Paul’s time and ours, it was not so easy to live peacefully. In some translations, it says, ‘live a quiet life.’ In other words, without turmoil. The word used literally means to have a calm and quiet being. It doesn’t mean you can’t make any noise. It means that the noise inside you is now turned into peace.
Why is Everything a Crisis?
I was talking with someone about how difficult it has become to watch the news. It disrupts our peaceful life. There certain words which used to be reserved for extremely dire circumstances, and now they are thrown out with regularity. ‘Crisis’ is one such word. It seems that attention must be grabbed through extremes. The fires in California were a crisis, and, yes, they truly were. The words of a politician somehow also become a crisis, and, no, they are not. However, the word crisis sparks something inside us.
‘Crisis’ means something important, something that needs our immediate attention – even when it doesn’t – even when there is nothing to give your attention to. The word ‘crisis’ remains in your brain firing up images of what might be.
We Need to Pay Attention to What We are Listening To
Opinions do not form a crisis unless you are a politician or a newscaster trying to get good ratings. It’s a shame. The odd thing is, we ignore the fact that each crisis seems to be qualified with the words ‘might be,’ or ‘could become.’ In other words, there is no crisis, there is simply a stirring up of fear over what may or may not happen next. The first word used is crisis, the ‘qualifying words ‘ take place in a quieter tone, deeper into the story and we often miss them completely.
Leading a Peaceful Life Starts in the Heart & Mind
That same mentality then invades our everyday life. We’re constantly in a hurry and it seems there’s a silent voice yelling at us. “Do this. You must do that.” If you don’t do it, something bad will happen. You’re not sure what but
Here in Thessalonians, a different voice speaks. It is directing you to have zeal but to focus it toward maintaining a life of peace, having a quiet spirit. Do that first, then pursue your life but do it from a basis of peace, not fear and chaos. Quiet your body, soul, and spirit in His presence. Make it a goal.
Minding Your Own Business
Minding your own business is another challenge. Television informs us all about everyone else’s business. Same is true for Facebook and much of social media. We need to care for and about others. However, there are things I don’t need to know about people around me or in Hollywood. Again, it requires deliberate effort toward minding my own business and closing out the voices of disruption, accusation, fear,
One of the things I really don’t need to know about is how much someone hates someone else. Yet, there it is in every form of media. Rather than the good, we hear all about the hate. That includes hatred of someone or something over things we really know very little about!
Where Have All the Boundaries Gone?
Boundaries in our personal lives seemed to have been removed. If you don’t believe me, just look at Facebook or YouTube, Twitter or Instagram. Boundaries for our words seem to have been removed as well. You can say anything no matter how harmful. We can make a personal choice to change that. While all around may be chaos, it is possible to maintain a peaceful spirit.
Thessalonians goes on to say that if we do those three things – lead a peaceful life, mind our own business, and stay busy at our own work – we can live peacefully with those on the outside. On the outside of what? Perhaps, just outside your own skin! All our needs will be met. Maintaining inward peace, minding my own business, and doing my own job.
Seeking Peace – How to Have All Your Needs Met
Peace can be elusive. Minding my own business is a choice. Doing my own job, instead of focusing on what my co-worker is not doing. Those are all choices we are urged to make in the midst of a difficult world which urges us to do just the opposite. Let us challenge ourselves to be doers of the word in Thessalonians. It is entirely possible! I can. You can. What others may be saying or doing is not the point here. The point is, what am I doing?