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Mind Your Own Business

June 14, 2022

“People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find once they reach the top, the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.” –Thomas Merton

Last week, I started a three part blog series about pursuing an honorable ambition. Hopefully you remember, ambition is a strong desire to do or achieve something.

The merit of any ambition is the motivation behind it.

Sadly, not all ambitions are good ambitions. This is why I suggested an honorable ambition is a strong desire to do something good. Just like Thomas Merton explained, we could achieve the success we strongly desire, but if our ambition is wrong in the first place, we fail!

We are using 1 Thessalonians 4:11 as our guide for pursuing an honorable ambition. Paul lists three ambitions we should have: 1) lead a quiet life, which we tackled last week, 2) mind your own business, and 3) work with your hands.

This week, we’re going to talk about what it means to mind your own business while also caring for the people around you.

It is an honorable ambition to mind your own business. Now, on the surface, this is an odd statement. It feels a little like the paradox of having an ambition to lead a quiet life. Is the goal to keep to yourself? Not exactly. Let me share a story to help illustrate what I mean.

During Winston Churchill’s last year in office, the World War II hero attended an official ceremony. Several rows back, two gentlemen began whispering about the old, famous politician. They talked about how he was “getting senile” and needed to make way for “younger and more capable men” to lead. When the ceremony was over, Churchill turned around and said, “Gentlemen, they also say he is deaf!” 

When Paul says to “mind your own business,” he’s telling us to not meddle in the affairs of others. Don’t gossip, and don’t be a busy-body. We are often so concerned about what other people are doing that we fail to do our own work well. 

Some sit in their offices, over-analyzing the performances of other team members, envious of their projects, and wondering if they will ever get the same opportunities.

Others look at their neighbors, focused on what they are doing instead of their own lives.

Even worse, some are always criticizing their own family members. Rather than supporting their siblings, they are often trying to one up them in some way—a better job, a nicer house, a bigger family. 

You cannot accomplish the responsibilities of your own life if you are constantly focused on everybody else’s.

However, it’s important to note that minding your own business is not a call to stop caring about the people around you. It’s a challenge to check yourself to see that what you are thinking and saying about someone else is good. Here are five questions to THINK about before you speak about another person:

1. Is it True? Is what you are about to say true about this person? If not, it’s a no brainer: don’t say it.
2. Is it Helpful? Will saying this be helpful to the person?
3. Is it Inspiring? Would saying this be uplifting to the person?
4. Is it Necessary? Does this need to be said?
5. Is it Kind? Is what you are about to say caring toward this person?

Minding your own business is honorable, and it should be your ambition. Focus on doing the work you have been given to the very best of your ability, instead of meddling in the lives of others.


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