WHAT SHOULD THE AMBITION OF CHRISTIANS BE

(cf. 1 Thess. 4:11)

What do you think should be the ambition of Christians? The Apostle Paul answers this question quite succinctly when he says to the believers in Thessalonica, “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands,…so that you will behave properly toward outsiders (unbelievers) and not be in any need” (NASB). The Phillips Translation of the New Testament has it, “…make it your ambition to have no ambition!”. I often wonder if we sit down and wondered what does God really want for me? Well, if we look at the Apostle Paul God sent him on a worldwide mission to evangelize the whole world, and left everything that he had and began on a trek and a pilgrimage of following Christ all over the world that finally ended in his martyrdom, and yet this Apostle with a mission like that also had a word of advice for his fellow Christians when he said, “Let your ambition be to lead quiet contented lives”. I think that’s a balance we need to hear. I feel like we’re always doing something in the church; doing prayer meetings, fasting, pushing about Sunday school, or were pushing about visitation, or we’re always trying to spur ourselves into action and getting ourselves motivated, which really is a pretty frustrating experience in itself. The other side of that coin though is, i think it is quite possible to have a quiet contented life and be in the will of God. What i’m saying is, we do a lot of things to try to win people to Christ. We have all kinds of things to try to get ourselves to actively share our faith, but my personal belief is that every Christian can be as dynamic by living quiet, contented lives sharing their lifestyle faith to those whom they are most intimately acquainted with, at work, or at school, or neighbors. We wouldn’t need to have any of these big programs for evangelism. We could penetrate the world very quickly if every believer just lived their lives quietly and impact their sphere of influence, and with those people whom they may know best.

It may sound paradoxical that Paul would say this, when this gung-ho of an apostle seems so dynamic as to say, you know, “…reaching for the upward call of God…” and all that. I think it’s because we’ve misunderstood, and got the concept of a super Christian as someone who is always out on the streets giving tracts, doing something or always in the limelight, but i really see the super Christian as one who is content where God puts him, and lives in appropriate Christlikeness in that situation. You see, we tend to think the one who’s always in the front line, and always doing something is the one who is pleasing to God. I really think of that little paradox that says, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first” is a spiritual truth that we need to contemplate. What is this thing? Paul defines here what a quiet life is. He says a quiet life is to attend to your own business. I think it’s very important that we watch our tongues. The tongue is the only thing that the Bible uses the word hell about, ‘Gehenna’. Did you know that Jesus uses the word ‘Gehenna’ or hell quite often, and the Apostle James says that “the tongue is set on fire by hell”? You know, we can do more problem in the church by opening our mouths in unloving, inappropriate cutting ways, and I want to tell you, that is simply inappropriate for the people of God. Better yet, make it a practice only to listen to something, and only talk about something if you feel like you’re a part of the solution, or that you’re involved somehow in the solution. What Paul is saying is, make it your ambition to live a quiet life, and he says tend to your own business. Vast majority of people do not read the Bible, and perhaps the only Bible that they would be able to read is the Bible lived out in our lives. And so please live your lives worthy of your calling as children of God (cf. Eph. 4:1-16).