Minding My Own Business
“But we urge you, brothers...to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own business…” (1 Thessalonians 4:10,11).
Some years ago our son Josh and I were making our way up a mountain trail when we spied a cloud of dust rising in the air ahead of us. We crept forward and discovered a grizzled old badger busy digging a den in a dirt bank by the trail.
He had his head and shoulders in the hole and was vigorously digging with his front paws and kicking the dirt out of the hole with his hind feet. He was so engaged in his work he didn't hear us.
I couldn't resist.
I spied a slender lodgepole pine about 15' long lying on the ground nearby, picked it up and gently prodded him in the rump.
True story: That badger leaped straight up in the air, turned 180º in mid-air, gnashed his teeth, and started running toward us before his feet even hit the ground. (He looked for all the world like one of those cartoon characters whose feet and legs seem to whirl.) Josh and I set new world records for the hundred meter cross-country dash.
I learned something from my brashness: I need to stay out of other people’s business.
Why do I meddle in other people's lives? I need to quiet my anxieties over their progress, or lack thereof, and stop trying to manage their affairs. Jeremy Taylor said, “We should enjoy more peace, if we did not busy our selves with the words and deeds of other men, which appertain not to our charge.”
That's especially true in spiritual matters. We can pray for and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can seek by God's grace to exemplify the truth as we learn it. We may have opportunities to pass on something of God's word when it's appropriate todo so. And, on the odd occasion, we may be called upon to offer a gentle word of correction. But the direction our brothers and sisters are going (unless they’re going wrong) and the speed with which they are growing is the Lord's business.
Paul writes, "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (Romans 14:4).