Pastoral Pondering

“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, mind your own business and to work with your hands ... so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

(I Thessalonians 4:11-12 NIV)

This is one of those passages of scripture I keep coming back to again and again. It is unambiguous, timeless and beautiful. It is practically my life verse.

By minding my own business, I can focus on improving my own spiritual shortcomings, rather than wagging my finger at someone else’s perceived shortcomings.

It extols the virtues of working with your hands, creating something tangible, the dignity in a job well done. Work is gift from God!

It reminds us that, as carriers of the most important message ever given to human­kind, the way in which we live our lives either en­hances or di­minishes the credibility of that message.

If we are honest, does this life that the Apostle Paul describes agree very much with the popular cultural perception of God’s people? Sadly, I believe that our modern culture predominantly views “Christian” as a synonym for fear, ignorance, bigotry and hate.

What shall we do about it? For me the challenge is to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. This is where the aspirational nature of the passage is both comforting and challenging. No matter how well or how poorly I believe that I lived this passage out yesterday, I can make it my ambition to live it better today.

Newberg resident Mo Spheric is a writer, musician and author of “The Apostate Chronicles: One man’s journey through organized Christian religion and modern American Christian culture.”

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