The Quiet Life (Pilgrimage)
“9Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 12so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need,” (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; NASB).
“I think somebody has a case of the Mondays.” As someone who came into young adulthood toward the end of the 1990s, I can’t tell you how many times I heard this line from the movie Office Space quoted. It’s not the only such line dealing with the phenomenon of the Monday blues. The Bangles famously dubbed the weekday ‘Manic Mondays.’
The whole point being that Mondays are the worst day of the week for various reasons. Some people have just been traveling all weekend and are exhausted, others are upset that their favorite football team just lost the day before, some have hangovers, and some would simply have preferred a longer break from work. Regardless, Mondays are a day for the world to vent, to be down in the dumps, to grumble and complain, and with the perfect excuse: it’s Monday.
Christians have no such rightful excuse. We have just walked away from what ought to be the most delightful day of the week for us (Isaiah 58:13). We should be well rested, refreshed, spiritually fed, and ready to face whatever the world might throw at us. Most pertinently, having just been with the people of God, we ought to be stepping into our workplaces with the love of the brethren fresh in our minds.
We can have the tendency though, if we are honest, to think of the world as that place. The world is that place where we have to interact with pseudo-Christians—those who profess Christ but demonstrate by their words and their actions that they are not possessed by Christ. The world is that place where we have to interact with difficult coworkers, clients, vendors, and supervisors. The world is that place where we are not loved for the Christ that is in us, but rather where we receive the same scorn that He received and told us to expect.
Paul did not want the church to think about the world in these terms. He rather recognized that all Spirit-indwelt believers have a love for the brethren, and that this love should spur us on to excel all the more in our love toward those who are outside. How, though, does he propose that we demonstrate this love toward those who are outside? By leading a quiet life, attending to our own business, and working with our hands. He does not command us to go outside the word (1 Corinthians 5:9-10), but he instructs us as to how we are to interact with the world.
As you go into the world today remember that you are a kingdom citizen, though the kingdom of Christ is not of this world, and that you represent your King in the world. Having just assembled with the people of God, you now return to your sojourn in a strange land—a land in which you, like the Levites of old, have no inheritance—and you have a choice with every action to either provoke others to blasphemy (Romans 2:22-24) or to adorn sound doctrine in your godly conduct (Titus 2:9-10). How will you live today?