Apr4MonApril 4, 2022
Mind You Own Business
9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more.11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
Good day family of God,
What is church? Well, if you know me by now, it is not something you attend on a Sunday. Church is people – the people of God, called out of the world, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, filled and empowered by Holy Spirit, gathered together by God to declare His praises to the world. We are the new community of Jesus followers and we are characterized by love one for another, the love that God has poured into us and taught us to live by. Church is community in Christ, not a building nor a group of disconnected strangers who gather in it. In order to understand today’s word, we really need to have a shift in our thinking about what church is, so let me illustrate it for you.
My wife Ruth and I watch certain renovation programs, since we are involved, to some degree with that kind of work. There are the run of the mill reno shows where the professionals come in, transform a house for the client and then leave the client to live their lives in the newly remodeled abode. I personally don’t like these shows because they seem so fake and staged. There is another type of renovation program that is much more community focused. It is the story of a town being transformed, one house at a time. The people on the show live in the community and all know each other. They remodel friend’s houses and at the end, celebrate as a community. My favorite is the one set in Newfoundland called “Rock Solid Build”. The trades people and “stars” of the show are run of the mill Joes and Joettes, not pretty, well-groomed models. They look just like you and me. They are not pretentious, conceited performers, but funny, down to earth blokes. At the end of the reno, which many local townsfolk take part in, they have a party in the newly renovated digs. There is lots of fun, food and laughter. People love this show! It’s real life, and everyone I talk to who watches the show wants to move to Newfoundland to be part of this great community.
When I read today’s passage, I think “community”. A community that truly loves each other and lives for Jesus by living for and with each other - they have “all things in common” (Acts 2:44; 4:32). This Thessalonian community is truly characterized by love (4:9-10), anticipating and waiting for the return of Jesus (4:13-18). So what happens when you are waiting, expecting to be swept up into glory at any moment by the Savior Himself? Well, if you are an independent, isolated Christian, who just attends church every Sunday, you do whatever you want, because no one else is affected. But if you are a follower of Jesus who actually belongs to a loving community of Jesus followers, then you live for the community, not yourself. That is the heart of the message of today! Paul lists three things to watch out for while waiting for Jesus to return, and while still being faithful to your church community:
The reason for this lifestyle of work and provision is because the world is watching (4:12). See, we are to be contributors, not moochers; givers not receivers. As a community, we are to look after those who are really in need, and not enable people to be lazy and dependent. When we mind our own business, we are blessed to mind the business of the whole community, including those who can’t mind their own business, like the orphans and widows (James 1:27; Acts 6). The whole world is watching us! Are we an irrelevant reno show that is fake and well staged; an unrelatable fantasy of glitz and glamor? Or are we built solid on the Rock - a loving community that is there for each other, and lives for the betterment of the community in Christ? Let’s aspire to be the true Church Jesus wants us to be.