I Thessalonians 4:9-12
9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, 11 and to 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, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
I find these verses to be quite fascinating. Paul was writing to believers who were living in the first century in the Roman Empire. Their lives as disciples of Jesus were to stand out from the lives of those outside of the community of Jesus. They needed to live lives that earned the respect of those outside of the Church. Paul’s instruction on how they were to do this is what I find so interesting: lead a quiet life, mind your own business, work with your hands, do not be dependent on others. In that society, Paul believed that non-believers would be more open to hearing the message of Jesus Christ if his followers lived lives worthy of respect, focused, hard working, quiet. There’s nothing flashy or exciting about this counsel, simply to live a steady and hard working life.
As disciples of Jesus today it’s becoming increasingly more challenging to win the respect of people outside of the Church. Perhaps we need to go back to Paul’s simple and undramatic counsel and live out that lifestyle.