I Timothy 2:1-2 – “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”
I Thessalonians 4:9-12 – “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing… But we urge you, brothers, to do this 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, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”
II Thessalonians 3:11-12 – “We hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”
Nike advises us in their commercials to Find Your Greatness. Television shows like The Voice and American Idol have become the aspiration of multitudes of bedroom musicians hoping to find their big break and attain stardom. And Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and countless other social media allow us all to market ourselves and help us feel like we are bigger fish than we actually are.
When I talk to young people, and even to those who are older, most have a strong inner drive to “do something that matters.” We like to think that we are engaged in something important; something that is going to help shape the world.
But the thing that matters is not reaching the top of the heap. It’s not being in a position where you can control outcomes and have a great deal of influence in the lives of others. It isn’t being “great,” or notorious, or a star. The really important thing is living a life of personal integrity.
In the Bible, we are encouraged to “aspire to live quietly and to mind (our) own affairs.” To seek to mind our own business, and to let others mind theirs. It’s interesting that those words are found in the middle of a discussion on loving one another – and doing so more and more.
We tend to think of love in terms of what we do for others. But love also consists in letting others alone – allowing them to make their own decisions, manage their own affairs, and to enjoy the fruits and consequences of so doing.
Further, our ability to do really big things is only enhanced when we focus first on finding peace, stability, and order at home. Jesus said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5).
We grow weary of corrupt politicians who tell us how to live our lives while their own are scandal ridden. And we rightly scoff at pastors and religious leaders who preach one thing and do another. But the same principle applies to you and me. First let us learn to manage ourselves and our own responsibilities. Then we may, perhaps, have clear insight to help others.