I posted this passage on Facebook a couple weeks ago but since I delete things from my wall routinely (just because), I want to save my thoughts here instead.
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
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.
Before reading any commentary, what this says to me is to keep your ego in check. Don’t be boastful and proud. Confidence is is a great thing, but to be over-confident is not. Likewise, don’t be lazy and dependent on others. It’s great when others are willing and able to help you out in life, but don’t take advantage of that. Show your gratitude and always try to return the favor whenever possible. I don’t like to depend on others and rarely ask for help or “handouts”. I don’t ask for help much because I’m picky and want things done a certain way. I don’t ask for handouts because … well, it just feels wrong to me and always has. I don’t want to be perceived as needy or a burden on others, and I don’t want to be indebted to anyone.
Then I looked up the Matthew Henry commentary on this passage.
“Of quietness and industry in their callings. Observe, 1. The apostle exhorts to these duties: that they should study to be quiet, 1 Thessalonians 4:11. It is the most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behaviour. This tends much to our own and others’ happiness; and Christians should study how to be quiet. We should be ambitious and industrious how to be calm and quiet in our minds, in patience to possess our own souls, and to be quiet towards others; or of a meek and mild, a gentle and peaceable disposition, not given to strife, contention, or division. Satan is very busy to disquiet us; and we have that in our own hearts that disposes us to be disquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet. It follows, Do your own business.When we go beyond this, we expose ourselves to a great deal of inquietude. Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men’s matters, generally have but little quiet in their own minds and cause great disturbances among their neighbours; at least they seldom mind the other exhortation, to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their own hands; and yet this was what the apostle commanded them, and what is required of us also. Christianity does not discharge us from the work and duty of our particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein. 2. The exhortation is enforced with a double argument; namely, (1.) So we shall live creditably. Thus we shall walk honestly, or decently and creditably, towards those that are without, 1 Thessalonians 4:12. This will be to act as becomes the gospel, and will gain a good report from those that are strangers, yea, enemies to it. Note, It is a great ornament to religion when the professors of it are of meek and quiet spirits, diligent to do their own business, and not busy-bodies in other men’s matters. (2.) We shall live comfortably, and have lack of nothing, 1 Thessalonians 4:12. People often by their slothfulness bring themselves into narrow circumstances, and reduce themselves to great straits, and are liable to many wants, when such as are diligent in their own business live comfortably and have lack of nothing. They are not burdensome to their friends, nor scandalous to strangers. They earn their own bread, and have the greatest pleasure in so doing.”
I wasn’t far off. I just used fewer words!