QUIETLY MINDING ONE'S OWN BUSINESS
"But we beseech you, brethren....that ye study to be
quiet, and to do your own business."--I Thess. 4:10,11.
THERE IS A quietness that appertains to sloth and indolence; but this evidently is not what the Apostle means in our text; for elsewhere he urges us to be "not slothful in business." (Rom. 12:11.) There is another quietness that appertains to peace-- a composure which is the opposite of nervousness, giddiness and childishness. This condition we believe to be that which the Apostle has in mind. The Lord's people are to study to have a mind that is well balanced. This composure is not natural to the majority of people and is, therefore, something to be studied and attained. We are in the school of Christ to learn such lessons.
This desirable quietness represents the graces of the Holy Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience and brotherly kindness. While we are to be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord" (Rom. 12:11,) we are also to be obedient to the instructions of the Holy Spirit, in meekness, quietness and love. We are to endeavor to take a proper estimate of the affairs of life, and not to allow trivial things to excite us. This course, if faithfully pursued, tends to produce a quietness of spirit.
To mind one's own business is a very important lesson to learn. Surely every Christian has observed that much of the trouble in the world results from interference one with another. In every difficulty, one or both of the persons involved failed to mind his own business. Some people are always seeking to find fault with others, and seem to think they are commissioned to correct the whole world. We find no authority given in the Bible for such a course.
A busybody is a person who meddles with the affairs of others with which he properly has nothing whatever to do. Sometimes he fancies that it is his duty to advise, criticise, investigate, chide and reprove others. The Golden Rule will prove a great help in deciding what is one's duty in any case. This commandment of the Lord prohibits everything akin to busybodying. Each member of the New Creation should educate his conscience to discriminate between brotherly-love and busybodying, and should learn to apply the rules of justice and love to every act, word and thought, so far as in him lies.
Where a matter is one in which we are personally concerned, however, we shall not be meddling with other [R5168 : page 26] people's affairs, but minding our own business, when we give it proper attention. There are times, places and circumstances which the Bible points out as proper for correction, reproof, etc. A parent may correct a child; a teacher, a pupil. It is not meddling for a parent to have knowledge and direction of all that is going on in the house, nor for the teacher to be in touch with the affairs of the school. The personal rights of the members of a family or of a school should never be lost sight of, however. A householder and those who are serving a house come under the same rule as do parent and child, teacher and pupil.
One of the greatest lessons of life is to learn that one who spends considerable time in correcting others, even though it be properly done and well, is prone to forget himself. One's first duty is to bring himself into harmony with the Divine arrangement and to keep himself there.
BUSYBODYING AN EVIDENCE OF UNBELIEF
To keep ourselves in the Love of God, we should cultivate the fruits and the graces of the Holy Spirit. There are not a few who can discourse learnedly on those qualities, but who seem not to be able properly to apply their knowledge to the affairs of every-day life. They seem to be unable to realize where meekness, gentleness and love should be shown in their own experiences. There are some things which we can teach others better by example than by precept. If we show in the little things of life that we are governed by the principles of justice and love, and if when under trial we exhibit meekness, gentleness and other fruits of the Spirit, our influence for good will be greatly increased.
Observation in life leads one to believe that fully one-half of the world are meddle-some busybodies, and that many of their trials result from this weakness. It would appear that in nearly every family there is some one, perhaps a husband, perhaps a wife, perhaps a child, who takes advantage of the kindness and generosity of the others and rules the house. Usually in such cases there is much injustice done. Those who take this position often attempt to justify their course by saying, "If I did not take the reins in hand, things would not run properly." Such do not perceive that they are busybodies.
This course of conduct demonstrates a lack of faith in God. We should do our duty and leave the rest to the Lord. There are people who in the future will find that they have lost much because they have not been subject to the Divine arrangements. Any one of the Lord's people who thus practises injustice is not making progress as a New Creature. Whether it be the husband, the wife or the child who rides rough-shod over the rights of others, this course is contrary to the Divine Law and the spirit of Love. Some day these will realize that they made a grave mistake.--Col. 3:18-21.
The head of a house and of a family has a responsibility which he should recognize and which it is his duty to exercise. But he should do so with loving interest, looking out for the welfare and the preference of those whom he directs. The responsibility of a husband in his home, therefore, means the obligation which the Divine Law has laid upon him and which often requires the sacrifice of his own time and preferences in the interest of his family. It is his duty to discharge this responsibility. --Eph. 5:25-33; 6:4.
The Scriptures also describe the proper place for the [R5168 : page 27] mother in the family. This position is a noble one. But every woman who usurps the place of the head of the household is surely doing injury to herself and the best interests of her family, even though she may seem for a time to prosper in her wrong course.--I Pet. 3:1-6.
There are many who are impatient and unkind in their dealings with the members of their own family, but who to outsiders seem to be models of deportment. It is hard to see how they justify their course, especially when we recall that they have a particular responsibility toward their family for mental, as well as physical sustenance. It behooves each one who would have the approval of God to study his conduct, not only toward the world and the brethren, but also toward the members of his own family, that he may be sure that he is minding his own business in every sense of the word.