It’s easy to dream about the living the life of somebody else. We can look at the allure of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has endless amounts of money that most of us couldn’t even imagine. Or we look at the excitement of the entrepreneur, who might not be wealthy but clearly loves what she does. Or we look to the popular speakers and writers who share their stories in front of thousands and have best-selling books with people hanging onto every single word. Or even amongst our own friends and family, we can do the same thing with the house we own, the family we are a part of, and the types of vacations that we go on.
As a culture, we make it our business to envy the lives of the people around us.
We are experts at knowing what type of life would make us happier than the life we are in right now. We are prodigies at dreaming about the life we don’t have. We sit at our desks and daydream about what our work will be like someday. We contemplate the future dreams of our family and imagine what our family life would be like when we finally get that promotion.
But what about right now?
Now, I’m not suggesting that we don’t have dreams or make goals about the future. But sometimes it’s easier to live in the future than in the present. Perhaps some of us would do well to think about the life that God has given us right in this moment. To consider your college classes a part of your calling right now, and not part of the plan to eventually find your calling. To consider your job that you're not completely satisfied in to be a calling right now, not a stepping stone while you try to find you calling. To consider your family a calling right now, not just the people you share a house with.
Consider what Paul says:
"But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” - 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12
Paul suggests that we live quietly, mind our own business, and work hard.
This is not the way our world works. We don’t live quietly, we do anything and everything to make a name for ourselves. We seek to build our platforms, our resumes, and our networks of influencers. We don’t mind our own business, we compare ourselves to the people we are surpassing and the people we want to be like. We don’t even always work hard, but we look for what work will have the most return for our effort.
But Paul suggests something different.
And the only way the work that Paul suggests is possible is by the grace of Jesus. Where might somebody find the freedom to mind their own affairs? Where might somebody find the freedom to not build their own kingdoms and influence? Where might somebody find the freedom to have their worth not in their own efforts but in somebody else’s?
We can live quietly and mind our own affairs because we don’t need to make a name for ourselves because Jesus placed his name on us. We are clothed in Christ not based on our position or influence but because of the cross. In Galatians 3:27 Paul writes, "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” We are children of God not by our own efforts or achievements, not by the success of our business or the importance of our job title. We are children of God through faith. We’ve been clothed with Christ not because of the clothes that we can afford, but because God has clothed us with Jesus.
We are free to mind our own affairs because in Christ he declares, “It is finished.” We are freed from the burden that comes with amassing our own influence, wealth, and worth. We are freed to mind our own affairs because our worth and validation no longer comes from how we compare to the people around us and instead is found in being made a child of God. We are freed to work hard, whatever job we have, not because of what it will get us but because of how it might bless others. And we are freed to live the life we have right now, not because the future doesn’t matter, but because right now is sacred. I am learning to mind my own business because God called me to the very business that I find myself in.