Monday School: Keep It Simple

I’m taking a break from my 30 days of posts, to share with you something that stood out to me in church yesterday morning. Hope you don’t mind!

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
~1 Thessalonians 4:11,12

Ambition is not always negative, though it often has that connotation. What matters most is what your ambitions are. Do they glorify God, or do they overshadow Him in your life?

Leading a quiet life may not sound like much of an ambition, but when I look around me at all that is available to my family and I, in the way of “stuff to do,” I am overwhelmed! So often, I compare what we do as a family to what others do, and wonder if I am depriving my kids of something. Then, I realize that keeping our life simple and relatively quiet is good for my sanity, and subsequently, good for my family. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay.

My point is this: Everyone’s level of what they consider “quiet” is different. I think we all could do with a little self-evaluation here, and decide if where we are is “quiet enough” for us. If it isn’t, change it! If it is, congrats on figuring it out! What does leading a “quiet” life really mean – practically speaking?

It means minding my own business. Gossip is out. Juicy tidbits are something I don’t need cluttering up my mind and emotions. All gossip leads to is pain, wasted time, and ultimately – broken relationships. Keeping my life quiet means keeping my ears and mouth shut when it comes to gossip. I don’t claim perfection here, but I also don’t really associate with gossips, which makes it easier. And says a lot about the wonderful company I keep!

To work with my hands is a big part of leading a quiet life as well. Thessalonians is a book written to people in a culture where being a blue-collar worker was looked down on. Paul, the guy who wrote the book, made tents in order to support his own ministry. I don’t imagine that his hands were very soft. What he was telling these men and women is that there is no shame in physical labor. That they needed to be willing to do whatever it takes to “keep beans and weenies” on the table (as my pastor likes to say). As long as it is honest work, it’s good enough for the kingdom of God.

My job, as a home manager, is a very physical job. Throughout any given day, my hands will need to wash dishes, clothes, faces, and rear ends. They will feed a baby, hug children, make meals, put away odds and ends, write blog posts, make phone calls, and drive to appointments. They will hold storybooks, little hands, mugs of coffee, and gallons of milk.

And I have slowly learned that my hands could do nothing more noble than this.

I want my daily life to win the respect of others, so that I may earn the right to share the Good News I have been entrusted with. I want others to see that Jesus doesn’t just live with me on Sundays; that He is woven into every moment of every day in my home.

Levi and I are not dependent on anyone but God. We know full well where our income is really from, and we are thankful to have it. He has taught us both to be content with what we have, and where we are in life, and to live life fully cognizant of his grace and goodness. May it always be so with us! I know it hasn’t always been, for me, anyway.

I think another, shorter way to say all of this is:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ~Micah 6:8 (NIV)

That sounds like a lovely, quiet life to me!

What do either of these verses say to you? Why?