Love and Witness
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to 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 Thessalonians 4: 8-12
Several things jump out at me from this passage. First and foremost is that the Thessalonians were taught directly by God the ways of brotherly love. We are talking about direct revelation here and it is very clear that they heard this from God Himself and not from a human apostle, teacher, preacher or pastor. We can learn many things from God directly if we seek Him. What they learned about love did not come from a bible or another human being. I think far too often in the Body of Christ we look to and depend upon human messengers instead of looking directly to God for His voice and instructions. The Holy Spirit is fully capable and should be our primary teacher in all things. Wise “men” still seek Him and they do not need to wait for secondary revelation from a book or human teacher to lead them in the ways of Christ.
Secondly, how we live our lives is extremely vital to how we are received by others. We should be hard workers that are focused on doing our best while quietly minding what we are doing. If we stand out it should only be because of Jesus being in our lives. We should be humble and not seek to draw attention to ourselves as we go about our daily lives.
Finally, we work and live upright lives so that we will not be dependent on anyone else. Paul, Silas, and Timothy gave this instruction to the Thessalonians and better than that they modeled upright behavior by working hard among them laboring and toiling night and day. Paul and the guys were not dependent on salary or gifts. No, they made their own money and did not even take anyone’s food without paying for it. I believe that being self supporting missionaries (tentmakers) is a New Testament model that all in the church should follow. Serving the church should never be about money. More important than money is that we should all work and be active in our communities so that the witness of our simple daily lives may be seen and respected by outsiders. Simple witness and evangelism is something that occurs most often outside of our church meetings. If you want the Jesus in your life to impact the people God has placed in your lives then you need to live Jesus style in your workplace and community everyday. If your only workplace is the church then I think you miss much of what following Jesus is really all about.
Kirk Out !