Mind Your Own Business!

James Smith, 1858

"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" 1 Thessalonians 4:11

How much there is to do in a world like ours. Everyone therefore should be at his post, employing his talents and mind his own proper business. This is true as it respects temporal things, for man was never intended to live in idleness, and if anyone does, he cannot be happy. It is an immutable law of our great Creator that an idle man, shall never be a happy man. Let everyone therefore have something to do, something that he can do, something that he ought to do and do it.

"And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle!" 1 Thessalonians 5:14

"In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us." 2 Thessalonians 3:6

"We hear that some among you are idle! They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:11-12

But the Apostle's design was not merely to urge us to diligence but to caution us against officious meddling with other people's business! Some people, and those not the most wise, or prudent, or thrifty are always interfering with and talking about other people's affairs. This is wrong decidedly wrong! Peter calls these, "busy bodies in other men's matters." Besides which, if people carefully attend to their own affairs they will not have much time to busy themselves about the affairs of others! We generally find, that those who find most fault with others have much in their own conduct, for others to find fault with!

"Mind your own business." What is our business? Do we know it? Do we attend to it? Do we do it? Our "own business," where is it? Let everyone ascertain what it is, and where it is and stick to it. Only taking care, that the temporal is not allowed to take the place of the spiritual, the earthly of the Heavenly. Everything should be kept in its own proper place and as to where that is, the Scripture will inform us. The words of Jesus, contain the general principle, "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness." Spiritual things, are to be sought first in point of time, and principally as the most important. Keeping this in view, let us apply the words to two or three classes of people.

Unsaved sinner, "mind your own business" and your first business is to be reconciled to God. You have long treated God with contempt, and have grieved his loving heart. He is reluctant to punish you but if you persevere in sin he must! His holy law, and every principle of his just government, require it.

But to show you, that he wishes to be your friend, and to have you reconciled to him, he gave his own Son to die as a substitute for sinners, and having exacted of him all that law and justice require, for the honorable acquittal of sinners he sends to you his gospel, beseeching you to come to terms, to accept his mercy, and to be friends with him; which if you do, he engages that he will not impute your trespasses unto you. Not one of your sins shall be placed to your account but all shall be forgiven, covered up, and hidden so as not to appear against you. And God will treat you as lovingly, and bless you as fully as if you had never sinned. Your business therefore is, to believe in Jesus, confess your numerous sins, receive the pardon offered and be at peace with God. So long as you neglect this you may very justly be charged with neglecting "your own business."

Parent, "mind your own business" and your first and principal business is, to seek the salvation of your children's souls. Giving them a secular education, and teaching them how to obtain a livelihood are matters only of secondary importance. Our children are immortal, they must live forever, and they are entrusted to us, not to be educated for time merely but to be trained for eternity. Unless therefore we manifest the deepest solicitude for their conversion, and make use of every means in our power to bring them to Jesus we may be justly charged with neglecting "our own business." Nor will it suffice to say, that we employ godly teachers, bring them under the gospel, or send them to the Sunday School all which we should do. But they are entrusted to US, and we are personally responsible for their training. Every parent is bound to seek the immediate, and unquestionable, conversion of each of his children to God, from the moment they are capable of understanding the nature of sin, the love of Jesus, and the way of salvation. Parents, Christian parents, whatever you neglect, "mind your own business," in reference to your children's souls.

Sunday School teacher, "mind your own business." Don't trouble yourself much about your fellow teachers but remember that your business is to strive to bring every child in the class for Jesus. In order to do this, you must study each child's disposition, be direct in your appeals to the conscience, endeavor to get at the heart through the affections, and by earnest, importunate prayer, try to bring down the influence of the Holy Spirit, on your class. It is well to teach children to read correctly, and store their memories with hymns and portions of God's Word but your proper business is not done, until every child is without doubt converted to God.

Minister of Christ, "mind your own business!" Politics, committees, and other things you may engage in occasionally but your business is to preach the gospel, to save souls, to feed the flock of God and your aim should be to present every man that hears you, perfect in Christ Jesus. There is a mode of preaching that is successful, for of the Apostles we read that "they so spoke that a great multitude believed," and it is for you to find out what that mode is. There are some truths that God especially blesses, and it is for you to ascertain what those truths are and so preach them, that you may be greatly blessed too.

It is for us to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen who need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. O, methinks, if we only did our own business, and left the deacons to do theirs, societies to do theirs, committees to do theirs giving ourselves to the one thing of winning souls to Jesus, and edifying the body of Christ our success would be greater, and at last our crown would be brighter. We have too much to do with committees, raising money, and directing societies when we ought to give ourselves to the Word of God and prayer.

Beloved, without particularizing further, let us lovingly take the hint given to us by the Apostle, or rather, by the Holy Spirit, through the Apostle, and "mind our own business." Our attention is too often diverted from the one principal point; our minds are too often distracted with a variety of objects; so that instead of saying, "One thing I do," we are trying to do many things, or everything that presents itself and thus our strength is wasted, our time is frittered away, and our own proper business is not done, or not well done.

Let each one see to it, that he secures his own salvation, and makes his calling and election sure; then let each in his own station, and sphere of labor, aim constantly, strive as if in an agony, and make it the grand business of life to save souls from death. So doing, we shall be happy in our souls, we shall adorn our profession, we shall be standing and striking arguments for the truth of Christianity; and our efforts, though feeble and imperfect, will be crowned with success.

Much of our time, and our best time too is already past; many opportunities, and most valuable opportunities, are lost; let us therefore, while we are sorry for the past, endeavor to make the very most of what remains that we may glorify God in the day of visitation.

Holy Spirit, we stand reproved, for we have not confined ourselves as we should, to "mind our own business." We are sorry, very sorry for the past; and now, O Lord, let it please you to give us deep repentance, strong faith, a determined will, and resolute courage that in future, let others do as they will, and notwithstanding temptations to the contrary we may each one, "mind our own business!"