1Th 4:11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,
1Th 4:12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
Chapter 4’s instruction exhorts believers in how to walk and please God’s will. Verses 11 & 12 are no different, but the aim is more specific. Not only do we need to heed God’s will (4:1-10), we also must live honorably before men (11-12), “…that you might walk properly before outsiders.” It’s refreshing to see that God teaches us responsible practical living. Don’t underestimate the effect that ‘sound living’ has on your neighborhood. It develops trust and respect, a virtue that will serve us well in proclaiming Jesus as Messiah. Universally, people admire a hard working, self-providing, nose-to-the-grind, mind-your-own business kind of an individual. This is the Holy Spirits paradigm for every disciple of Christ. These character traits before the watching world prove the immense wisdom and power of God. This couplet of verses should be entitled “a becoming walk with God.” The word “becoming” means something that is flattering, attractive, pretty, fetching, handsome. We often associate these with physical characteristics, but here it underscores the conduct of one’s character. I have seen over the years, Christians eschew the importance of a good reputation before the world, as a cloak to excuse their responsibility to be light to the world. But, we’re called to 1) Live quietly 2) Mind our own affairs and 3) be dependent on no one. This is simple conscientiousness that adorns the gospel!! Paul says, they had instructed the church in these specifics before. Here is a good kind of Christian independence. Christian, take care of your own needs, don’t be a mooch to others; find profitable employment, and realize God makes us accountable to himself and to men.
Are you using the most of your ‘own affairs’ and time? Are you industrious with your own hands, are you ‘spent’ at night because of the diligent work of your hands? If so, you are pleasing God and respected by men. This is an excellent way to be used in the gospel service of God, and a great way to lead by example in the church. When you get a job, know that God has you there to look other-worldly in calm temperament. While the world is characterized for living a frustrated life of jealous gossiping, blame shifting, pilfering, and complaining about their lack of pay. Paul says, “live quietly.” God about your business without much of a whisper of complaint. Mind your business. You have your own ‘trash’ to pick up; and you have enough personal cares that need to be ironed out yourself. Sufficient for the day are the troubles therein. People of ancient Asia lived in densely packed quarters; and similar to trailer-park communities today, everybody knew everyone else’s business. Let us labor well to lookflattering before outsiders, and give no offense to Christ.