1 Thessalonians 4:11,12: Mind Your Own business!
I try to avoid people who were more concerned about my affairs than their own. I believe that more could be accomplished and more would get done if people would learn to mind their own business. When people ask nosey questions, when they butt into private conversations, and when they give unsolicited advice, are you tempted to say, “Mind your own business?” Wouldn’t it be great if everybody would just mind their own business? Wouldn’t it be great if everybody did what he or she was supposed to do? Wouldn’t it be great if there weren’t so many busybodies?
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Let every fox take care of its own tail.” –Italian proverb
“Hey, I found your nose, it was in my business again.” –unknown
“Make someone happy today, mind your own business.” –Ann Landers
Mindin' other people's business seems to be high-toned,
I got all that I can do just to mind my own.
Why don't you mind your own business,
'Cause if you mind your business, then you won't be mindin' mine!
Why don't you mind your own business,
If you mind your own business, you'll stay busy all the time!
Verse 11a: “…that you also aspire…”
“Aspire” in Greek is philotimeomai, (Make it your ambition), to strive earnestly, make it one's aim, to strive eagerly, to be zealous, to make something your goal, your aim, the passion of your life.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:11,12 Paul gives us a clue as to why he gives this admonition this issue writing…“For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.”
Verse 11b: “…lead a quiet (tranquil) life…”
Does this mean to “veg out” and do nothing? I saw a cartoon once that showed a man sleeping with his Bible open on his lap. The caption read, “Is my quiet-time too quiet?”
I watched an “Andy Griffith Show” where the preacher that Sunday morning spoke about leading a tranquil, relaxed, and quiet life. So that afternoon they decided to begin the town Mayberry band concerts again. So they were frantic the rest of the day trying to get the bandstand, band and their uniforms ready, until they collapsed from exhaustion. Not the best way to have quietness and tranquility (a state of peace and quiet).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a cabin in the woods where we could go just to be alone. Some communes were created to get away from the world. In the 60s, while waiting for a flight, I spoke with a “Hippie,” who said she was a Christian. She said she was moving to a commune to “get away from the world.” I asked her how she was going to accomplish the command to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature?” (Mark 16;15). She said she hadn’t thought of that! It’s one thing to take a breather, to go on a retreat to get away from the humdrum of life, but the best rest is to “rest in the Lord” (Psalm 37:7), then get to the work of telling others about Him.
Psalm 62:1 NLT, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.”
Isaiah 30:15, “Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on Me…”
Mark 6:31 NLT, “Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”
Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
“Quiet” in Greek is hesuchazo, to be still or to be silent.
“Basically it means ‘to be at rest’ and was used of silence after speech, rest after labor, peace after war, and the like; it was also used of tranquility or peace of mind; here it is used to urge the living of a calm, restful life. The present tense…stresses that they must constantly strive to lead such a life. They must eagerly endeavor to be eminent in the effort "to be quiet," live tranquilly and restfully. Instead of allowing them to succumb to fanatical excitement, Paul desires to recall them to restfulness of mind and a balanced outlook upon life. If they will develop a quiet, restful attitude, the outward manifestations of restlessness will cease.” –Hiebert
Hesuchazo is used 4 other times in the New Testament…
Luke 14:4, “But they kept silent…” In this context hesuchazo means to be silent saying nothing and holding one's peace.
Luke 23:56, “And on the Sabbath they rested (hesuchazo) according to the commandment.” To be at rest, ceasing from labor was commanded on the Sabbath.
Acts 11:18, “When they heard these things they became silent (hesuchazo) they quieted down…”
Acts 21:14, “…we ceased, saying (hesuchazo) …”
“When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship—when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us.” –Oswald Chambers
Remember that pig cannot turn his neck to look up, so he never sees the hands that feed him. He must be flat on his back to be able to look up. That’s a lot like some believers who never acknowledge the goodness of God in caring for them until they are flat on their backs.
Ecclesiastes 4:6, “Better a handful with quietness than both hands full, together with toil and grasping for the wind.”
1 Timothy 2:1,2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
“In all of life, it is the quiet forces that have the greatest effect. The sunbeams fall silently all the day—yet what immeasurable energy there is in them, and what power for blessing and good! Gravitation is a silent force, with no rattle of machinery, no noise of engines—and yet it holds all the stars and worlds in perfect orbit with its invisible chains! The dew falls silently at night when men sleep—and yet it touches every plant and leaf and flower with new life and beauty…So it is in the calm, quiet life—that the greatest strength is found…If therefore we want to be strong—we must learn to be quiet. A noisy talker is always weak. Quietness in speech, is a mark of self-mastery.” –J.R. Miller, gracegems.org
I grew up in a large, noisy family! Our home was a scene of uproar and confusion constantly. There were arguments and fights over things as trivial as to who gets the drumstick at Sunday dinner! And my dad would come home drunk from work several nights a week. The shouting, cursing, and accusing would go on until the wee hours of the morning. There was no peace and tranquility in our home!
“The quiet life contradicts the hugely successful modern attraction to entertainment and excitement. This addiction to entertainment and excitement is damaging both spiritually and culturally. We might say that excitement and entertainment are like a religion for many people today.
•This religion has a god: The self.
•This religion has priests: Celebrities.
•This religion has a prophet: Perpetual entertainment.
•This religion has scriptures: Tabloids and entertainment, news, and informational programs.
•This religion has places of worship: Amusement parks, theaters, concert halls, sports arenas; and we could say that every television and internet connection is a little chapel.” –David Guzik
Verse 11c: “…to mind your own business…”
“Mind” in Greek is, prasso, it means to be occupied with, to accomplish or to practice. The present tense calls for them to be making this their daily practice or lifestyle to take care of their own business.
“They are to serve God by a faithful performance of their own individual tasks. It is a warning against meddlesomeness in the affairs of others. While having a proper concern for the needs of the brethren, they must avoid the neglect of their personal affairs. Let them have the habit of attending to their own interests and responsibilities.” –Hiebert
The Bible tells us that Christians shouldn’t meddle in other people’s business, but to worry about their own affairs. This Scripture has nothing to do with correcting someone who is rebelling against God, but the Bible says stop being nosy. Don’t stick your nose in on matters that do not concern you, it only creates more problems. Many people want to know your business not to help, but just to know it and have something to gossip about. When your mind is set on Christ. You won’t have time to meddle in another person’s business!
“Mind your own business" is a common English saying which asks for a respect of other people's privacy. It can mean that a person should stop meddling in what does not concern him or her. Its initials are MYOB. In the 1930s, a slang version rendered the saying as “mind your own beeswax.” Or as my mom used to say, “tend to your own knittin!’”
Proverbs 26:17,18, “He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death.”
1 Peter 4:15,16, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”
Mildred, the church gossip and self-appointed arbiter of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people's business. Several residents were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic, after she saw his pickup truck parked in front of the town's only bar one afternoon (George was at the bank and this was the only parking place he could find). She commented to George and others that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing. George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and then just walked away. He didn't explain, defend, or deny. He said nothing. Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred's house.......and left it there all night.
“We all have free will given by God. It is like driving our own car. We can stay on the right path or choose to drive the car into a wall. Either way there is no one to blame but the driver or the decision maker. So don’t be a backseat driver to your friends. You have no right to tell them what to do or where to go.” – Sheila Noreen Gamo
Verse 11d: “…and to work with your own hands…”
Paul here is referring to manual labor. The Greek word kopos is used in the secular Greek of “a beating,” “weariness” (as though one had been beaten) and “exertion,” was the proper word for physical tiredness induced by work, exertion or heat.
It seems that the majority of the saints in the church at Thessalonica were “working class.” Today we would call them “blue collar” workers. Paul had set the example for them. 1 Thessalonians 2:9, “For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.”
But there were some idle people in Thessalonica who were spending their time interfering with the affairs of others and getting themselves and others into trouble. “For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies” (2 Thessalonians 3:11).
Paul deals with this issue in Ephesians 4:28, “Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need…”
The labor Paul describes is that which “works up a sweat,” work that is done with one’s own hands. Now there is nothing wrong with “white collar” jobs, but here Paul gives dignity to hard, “blue collar” work.
I was born during the Great Depression where everyone had to work hard. My dad and older brothers worked for the “Works Projects Administration” (WPA) working on public works projects, later they worked in coal mines, anything to make a meager living to “bring home the bacon.” So I grew up understanding the need for hard work.
Notice also that Paul says in Ephesians 4:28, “working with his hands what is good.” One man, who was brought to Christ through our ministry was a liquor salesman. After a few months he came to me asking if he should be selling liquor? I read this verse to him, and he immediately got another job.
There are a number of reasons for work. One reason is so that we will not be a burden to others. “…nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you…” (2 Thessalonians 3:8). Another reason for work is to care for our family, so that they do not become a burden on others. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Here, Paul commands us to work hard so that we will have the means to help those who are truly in need. “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35 NLT).
Verse 11e: “…as we commanded you…”
Commanded” in Greek is paraggello meaning beside, alongside, near by, at the side of, it means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge. “I charge (paraggello) you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…” (1 Timothy 4:1). “I charge (paraggello) you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things…” (1 Timothy 6:13). “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct (paraggello) certain men not to teach strange doctrines…” (1 Timothy 1:3).
Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior. In other contexts the main idea was that the announcement was in the form of an instruction. Every use of paraggello includes the inherent idea of binding the hearer or recipient in a way that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction.
This speaks to the preacher’s authority. “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1,2).
“Fearless preaching is all the more necessary in dangerous times. When people will not tolerate the truth, that's when courageous, outspoken preachers are most desperately needed to speak it. Sound preaching, confronts and rebukes sin, and people in love with sinful lifestyles will not tolerate such teaching. They want to have their ears tickled. Churches are so engrossed in trying to please non-Christians that they have forgotten their first duty is to please God.” –John MacArthur
What is the motive for people-pleasing preaching, larger paychecks, greater applause, or bigger crowds? Wouldn’t you rather have the applause of God than the applause of men? If the preacher is called by men, then he may do his best to please those who called him. But if he is called of God. How can he dare but speak the truth of God? Preaching is authoritative because it stands upon the authority of the Bible as the word of God.
How can we look at the life of Jesus without noting the fact that He spoke with authority? The Gospels all record this. The same authority is evident in the first-century Apostles. Is that authority still ours today? God has not changed! His Word has not changed! The same power that led the Israelites by pillar of fire and smoke; the same power that lighted the Tabernacle and temple; and sat in cloven tongues of fire on the disciples of Pentecost is still ours today! Ephesians 5:18: “Do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Malachi 3:6: “I am the Lord, I do not change.”
Verse 12a: “…that you may walk (behave)…”
“Walk” in Greek is peripateo, literally it means to walk around, to go here and there in walking, to tread all around. Also, behave, conduct yourselves.
Peripateo is found 32 times in Paul’s writings. Here and in most of his epistles Paul uses this word in the metaphorical sense, meaning to conduct one's life, to order one's behavior, to behave, to make one's way, to make due use of opportunities, to live.
Verse 12b: “…properly toward those who are outside…”
They are to conduct themselves with decorum, decently and in a fitting manner toward non-believers, those who are outside the bonds of Calvary, and so not in the sphere of Christian faith and fellowship. Christians not only have the obligation to love one another but also to be good testimonies to the people of the world.
2 Corinthians 3:2,3 NLT, “The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.”
Verse 12c: “…and that you may lack nothing.”
Psalm 23:1 NLT, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
Philippians 4:19 NLT, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
Then there’s the story of the little 1st grade girl. The teacher asked if anyone could quote the 23rd Psalm, only this one little girl raised her hand. But the teacher ignored her, thinking she was just too young to be able to do that. So she asked again, and again this little girl raised her hand. So the teacher finally recognized her and asked, “Can you really quote the 23rd Psalm?” This little girl stood and loudly and proudly said, “The Lord’s my Shepherd, that’s all I want!” Not a bad interpretation!
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).