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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Light in the Gathering Gloom: Day 3

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.
I Thessalonians 4:11 

Another time, another place, another difficult time for God’s people. It is 51 AD and the place is Thessalonica, a port city in Macedonia. A fledgling church composed of both Jews and Gentiles and without full-time leadership, is the subject of Paul’s concern. He is writing to both encourage and instruct them.

Paul says that believers’ lives are to be characterized by quietness, not as in “nobody talks above a whisper,” but as in “free from turmoil and confusion.”

And if there is anything that characterizes our culture, it is the busyness that many have mistakenly identified as productivity.

Ours is a society driven by appearance and outward impact: how we look, where we live, what we do, what we own. According to Christ, this is not characteristic of super-achieving-highly-successful-people, but pagans. (Matt. 6:32) So it follows, that those whose lives are marked by quietness and contentment would hold a peculiar fascination for those who are vainly searching for purpose -- and coming up short.

Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10? Jesus was a guest in their home and Martha, no doubt Bethany’s hostess with the mostess, was running around preparing an elaborate meal in Jesus’ honor. Nothing wrong with that. However, her sister, Mary, was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teaching.

Martha asked Jesus to send Mary back in the kitchen to help, and His reply was, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.”

What is the “one thing” in your life right now (maybe not forever) that is of eternal value? Maybe it is teachable moments with your children, time in the Word, an opportunity to help your neighbor, maybe even time to prayerfully sit before the Lord and ask Him to show you what that one thing is for your life.

Like money, time can only be spent once. How we allocate it, both in our “no” and in our “yes” is powerful witness to a tired and thirsty world looking for rest, as well as the best way to live.

Nancy Shirah

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