If you listen very carefully on Dec. 25, you can hear a sound that only happens once a year. It’s the sound of millions of pieces of wrapping paper being torn simultaneously all across the globe.
Little kids are always excited to see what they got, but they may also be equally as excited to tell their friends what they got. I remember the first day of school after Christmas break; everyone would be talking about what it was that they got that year for Christmas.
We all wanted to be the kid who got the latest video game console or new bike. It seemed like the better present you got the cooler you became.
Even as kids we often used material possessions to find out where we belong on the social ladder.
This carries over into our adult lives. We might not talk about what we got, but we can be guilty of bragging about what we got our children or spouse.
This attitude isn’t just limited to the holiday season either. It’s really hard not to brag when we make a big purchase like a house or a car. I’m guilty of announcing a new car on social media like it was a new baby.
This kind of social bragging is what some commentators think Paul was talking about in 1 Thess. 4:11 when he wrote, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands…” There are lots of ways we are ambitious, but rarely do I think of myself as being ambitious to be quiet.
This is totally contrary to a celebrity-driven world where everyone wants to be known, and if they can’t be famous they at least want to be popular. When two guys meet each other for the first time one of the first things we ask is “What do you do for a living?” Sometimes this is an innocent question, but other times, it’s a way of gauging the worldly value of another person.
Paul continues to write why he would call them to such a life. In verse 12 he continues, “so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
God wants our daily lives to speak great volumes, not just carefully selected moments that make us look good. Another way of saying this is that your character is more important than your career or what you own. We simply don’t live by the rules the rest of the world lives by.
Reading 1 Thess. 4:11-12 made me think about the things I pursue. Before today, I don’t think living a quiet life was on my list of pursuits, but it’s a good truth to be believed. Our lives speak volumes when we are truly loving and respectful on a daily basis as we preach the grace of Christ to all who will listen.