I have four children. I love each of them wholly and completely. They bring such a tremendous amount of joy to my wife and me. But can I confess something to you? They are loud. Really loud. Now, I love our loud, sometimes-chaotic home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But there are moments when the noise makes it hard to concentrate on anything else.
The world we find ourselves in has a similar effect on us, doesn’t it? The “noise” from the endless tsunami of opinions on Facebook and Twitter, pundits on the nightly news, and co-workers, friends, and family. This collective noise makes it hard to concentrate on anything else. We are overwhelmed at times by the noise of others.
Can I ask you a question, though? What is your role in the noisiness of our culture? Are you a part of the problem? Am I?
Take a moment and read 1 Thessalonians 4:9–12. Here, Paul is giving the Thessalonians some final words of advice. Contained in these verses is a teaching so powerful, so counter-cultural, and yet so simple that it will stop you in your tracks. As he is nearing the end of his letter, Paul commands us to strive for three things.
Live quietly. Mind your own business. Work hard. Three things that God values. Three things the world around us has almost completely lost track of. To live quietly doesn’t mean that we aren’t supposed to talk, and it doesn’t mean we are supposed to be silent about the Gospel. It simply means that your life shouldn’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Living quietly means living humbly. A loud life is a life that points the spotlight on you. A quiet life is a life where you serve God and others.
How about minding our own affairs? Unfortunately, in our current culture, this is an amazing challenge. It doesn't mean that we don't engage with our friends, help them out, or give them advice. It simply means that we don't invest time worrying about or getting involved in things that don't involve us. How much better (and how much less noisy) would the world be if we all followed this command?
And working hard? That's simple. It means we don’t waste our lives being lazy, binge-watching TV, or wasting time on social media all day. We work hard and then rest. That's God's way. Don’t miss Paul’s reason why we do these things in verse 12. He says living this way is the proper, or right, way to live according to God’s ways.
So, here’s a question for you and me: Do we live a quiet life? Do we mind our own business?
Do we work hard? If you can’t answer “yes” to all three of these, spend some time asking the Holy Spirit to work on these areas of your life. I will join you in asking God to make us men who are steady, bold, and intentional, and don’t fill the world around us with noise for the sake of hearing ourselves talk.