“But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 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, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
–1 Thes. 4:11-12
Have you ever worked with someone who was hard to get along with? Of course you have! We all have.
I currently am. He is a sociable guy. He likes to use fancy words throughout the day. I’m jealous of how good at the job he is. It’s easy to notice “teacher-pet” qualities when we’re in a meeting with our boss. Oftentimes, I find myself gritting my teeth at things he does that I, myself, would do ordinarily on any given day. But just because it’s him, the Enemy succeeds at stoking an angry fire in my heart against him.
Doesn’t this attitude feel so contrary to what Paul wrote to Thessaloniki? I confess, not only did these emotions flow in my heart, I also sinned by complaining to a fellow coworker about him, a fellow coworker that I have spent months trying for a Gospel-conversation with! What kind of respect am I winning in their heart by speaking ill of another coworker? Not much!
I had a post-it note pasted on my private computer. The words on it were intended to inspire a competitive spirit in me to work at my job with excellence. The note said, “BEAT (insert name here)” After having a Quiet Time, I crossed out the “BEAT” and wrote instead “LOVE.”
Christian, you can work at your job with consistent excellence all you want. But what does it matter if you are not putting daily effort to win the respect of those around you in order to love and share the Gospel?
Daily Battle Order:
Who is the person at your work or in your life that’s hard to love? Say a daily prayer for him/her. How can you love them today?
Are you consistently living a “quiet life”? Admit any gossip you’ve committed whether at work, church, etc. to Jesus and an ally today.
What can you do to “win the respect of outsiders” today?