Peaceful, Humble Activity
1 Thessalonians 4:9-11
But as touching brotherly love you need not that I write to you: for you yourselves are taught of God to love one another.…

I. THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONDUCT ENJOINED. Very powerful and energetic is the language of the Holy Spirit in warning all who name the name of Christ to depart from iniquity, especially such kinds of iniquity as pride and self-confidence, and also from indolence and all self indulgent tempers. As, for instance, how strong and vehement is this language of the zealous Peter to Christians — "Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility;" that is, be girded, tightly fastened, as it were, with your humility, so as never to put it off, or part with it; adding the great sanctions, "For God resisteth the proud" — sets Himself against them — "but giveth grace to the humble." And so with regard to the other evil tendency, namely, that to indolence and want of energy the Divine warnings are very express, and in various forms repeated: "The fool foldeth his hands together, and eateth his own flesh." "He that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a waster." "A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again." "The slothful man saith, there is a lion without; I shall be slain in the streets." How different the saying of Him who came from heaven to earth to leave us an example! "I must work," said He, "the works of Him that sent Me while it is day; for the night cometh when no man can work." His illustrious apostle imitated Him. "Yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you, neither did we eat any man's bread for nought. And when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." "We beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more" in all Christian excellences, "and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without," that is — that ye may do nothing to bring disgrace on your holy profession, "and that ye may have lack of nothing," or of "no man," "that ye may not be obliged to depend on wicked heathen people for support." These, then, pride and indolence, are the two great evil principles or dispositions which hinder and entangle us in our daily path, while a humble, diligent course is that which is most sure of the Divine blessing. Only we must be careful not to separate these two heavenly graces. A diligent person may be vain and proud; and a professedly humble person may be slothful and negligent. As a general rule, the graces of the gospel are so united that the want of any one may give us great reason to fear that we are deficient in all.

II. THE WAY TO SHOW SUCH CONSISTENT CONDUCT. "Study to be quiet." The word "study" is, in the original, very expressive — that we take great pains to lead a quiet, peaceable life — that we make it the object of our ambition. But lest this quietness should be debased into idleness or cowardliness, the apostle immediately adds, "And to do your own business, and work with your own hands;" implying, that as Christians must always be quiet and peaceful, so they must never be careless and idle, but ever be full of energy and spirit in the quiet accomplishment of their everyday duties. And all this must be done under a deep sense of Christian responsibility, as having great privileges in possession, and great promises in prospect, and as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

WEB: But concerning brotherly love, you have no need that one write to you. For you yourselves are taught by God to love one another,

Of Quietness and Doing Our Own Business
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