1 Thessalonians 4: 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life
If you ask coaches about the stars they have coached there will be a consistent theme. Their best players want to be in the thick of things when the game is on the line. “She wants the ball in her hands when I draw up the final play to get the basket and the win”. “He wants the ball in his hands to march down the field to get the winning touchdown.” “She wants to be one of the five picked to take the penalty shot to win it all.” While many players crumble under pressure, the stars find a way to rise to the occasion and they revel in the glory. Who wouldn’t want to be the hero when everything is on the line?
Beyond sports, most movies have a hero – a man, woman or child who defies the odds and the obstacles to triumph over evil, or at least over their enemy. This is a common theme because almost everyone can relate to this desire to be a hero, to be celebrated as one who has saved the day. It seems to be part of our DNA – this desire to be recognized.
I can relate to that desire. There were few things more exciting in sports for me than being on the pitch and scoring a critical goal in a soccer game or delivering a key kill in a volleyball match, and hearing the fans go crazy. It really does make you feel good because you have brought joy and excitement to others.
However, if you look at the life of Jesus, He was never looking for fame or for prominence. In fact, one of the most impactful scriptures in the Bible for me is John 2: 23-25. “23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.” Jesus, had every reason to enjoy the appreciation these followers had for him, but He understood that people are fickle, and their praise can often leave as quickly as it comes. Jesus knew that His father’s approval was all that he needed.
Oswald Chambers wrote: “We have a tendency to look for wonder in our experience, and we mistake heroic actions for real heroes. It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us.”[i] The Apostle Paul instructed the Thessalonians to: “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
The older I get, the more I appreciate both Chambers’ and Paul’s words. I guess I’ve been around long enough now to see many a “heroic” person who bursts onto the scene. They are the talk of the town, or perhaps the talk of the church, but when you look at their fruit (Matthew 7:17) after a few years, or after a decade has passed, there is little there. On the other hand, I have seen Christian men and women who are not flashy, but instead quietly and consistently carry on their lives in a manner that is honoring to God. Don’t be so eager to crave the limelight. Crave to honor God by being obedient to His calling and quietly and consistently walking in a manner where you may not be noticed by man, but you will one day be recognized and honored by God. Choose to be a Quiet Hero.