Thanks to my dad, my sisters and I have long studied koine Greek, the original language of the New Testament. Though I have not always been a great friend of koine Greek, I now love the depth behind the words and behind even the verb tenses of the language. So if I find a really sticky passage, I love to look it up in the original Greek.
But no, I’m not looking at a sticky passage today. Just two verses that convict me.
that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you,
-1Thessalonians 4:11 NKJV (emphasis mine)
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.
-1 Timothy 2:1-2 NKJV (emphasis mine)
A quiet life.
That’s an oddity in today’s culture. The world encourages us to dream big, to make a name for ourselves, to chase fame or wealth or whatever it is we desire. Nothing is too big for us. We can have it if we want it.
And, yes, I suppose we can. If you want to work for it and build your life around it, you might just reach your dream.
But God says we’re supposed to pursue “a quiet and peaceable life.” That seems like an awfully small dream. (Until you consider how crazy this world is. Finding quietness and peace may be a more elusive goal than we think. But I digress.)
The words (both a verb and an adjective, interrelated) which call us to quiet and peace mean more than mere silence. Yes, they include refraining from much speech. But they also mean stillness, and “keeping one’s seat.”
By implication, undisturbed and undisturbing.
God calls us to be quiet. To live our lives, doing our work, not sticking our noses into everyone else’s business. Not being disturbed by this insane world, and not going around disturbing others with our drama.
For me, this goes beyond activity.
I’m not one who longs for busyness and outside activities. Honestly, I like being home, minding my own business.
But my mind is a different story. It’s constantly thinking about the same things I hashed out yesterday. Coming up with new ways to look at a problem–as if God can’t handle things for me. Worrying over a thousand “what ifs.”
I tell my mind to “take a seat, and stop bustling about.” Give it two minutes (probably less), and it’s up and at it again.
But isn’t our Lord capable of handling everything? He calls us to quietness and peace, both in our outward lives and in our inner hearts. I should rest in His strength.
(I’m still working on that.)
And what about dreams? Well, I don’t believe that we should chase a big dream for its own sake. Maybe God gives us some our dreams, but if so, I think He will give a purpose behind them. A purpose that will bring Him glory and further His kingdom.
But His purposes might look small to us. We might not think them “big” enough for God. Yes, this is the God who hung more galaxies than we can see, made of more stars than we could hope to count, floating in a vast Space we could never hope to measure. But this is also the God who created snails and lets them make their slow, slimy way across the planet and calls them “good.” (see Genesis 1:25)
This is the God who calls us to a quiet life.
I’m not saying I know how my dreams are supposed to play out. (Because, believe me, I have dreams.) But I’m saying God knows. And He isn’t one to keep us in the dark when we search with our whole hearts.