I can hear the words echoing in the chamber of my memories: "Mind your own business!"
"But, Mom," I would reply.
"Don't but me, just keep to yourself," she would insist.
Words of wisdom from a woman who knows and loves the Lord. Her goal was to raise a son that would keep his nose out of things that did not concern him, to protect him from undue harm because of inappropriate levels of curiosity, and to teach him to seek peace rather than conflict. Oh, that we could all learn this lesson.
In 1 Thessalonians, Paul instructs the church on this very issue. Paul says to "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others" (1 Thes. 4:11-12, NLT).
Somewhere along the way, between the words of Paul and the words of many mothers to their children, this basic instruction for life has been mostly lost. With the onset of social media in the last 15-20 years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the unnecessary awareness of everyone's business, and many people are not just addicted to being in everyone's business, they are obsessed with it. No longer do we have to peek over the fence to see what our neighbor is doing. We can just check out their update and see pictures and detailed explanations that give us, in some cases, far more information than we wanted or needed in the first place.
I confess! I am just as guilty as the next. If I could go back over the last 10 years and correct the mistakes I have made in this arena of life, I most certainly would. I wish that I could tell you I have been drama free, but I have not. Thank God for His mercy and grace.
Paul tells us three important things in his writing. First, mind your own business. Second, keep yourself busy with things that matter. And third, our testimony is our most powerful asset. Yes, the instruction that your mother gave you to mind your own business was spot on and still is today. This does not mean that we are not to care for those in need, or listen to the hurts of those who are crying out. Rather, it means to not to poke our noses in matters that we are not invited into. Unfortunately, with the incessant need to share everything on Facebook and Twitter these days, it can be hard to stay out of people's business. Discipline on the part of the follower of Christ is important in this matter to resist the urge to get involved. Let people air their grievances, but don't engage where you are not needed. And, to tell the truth, most of the time we are not needed.
Keeping busy with your hands is important because God created us to be people of production. He designed you to work and to work well. He designed you to be creative, to build, to craft, to imagine, and more. All of these things happen with the God-given talents that each of us are gifted from the hands of the Creator. Yes, some are more gifted than others, but the fact remains: we are told to keep busy! Does this mean to never rest or relax? By no means. But it is in those moments of "boredom" when we often find ourselves scrolling through that social media feed, engaging in places we don't belong, or allowing our minds to wander into the affairs of people with which we have no business concerning ourselves. Keep busy, keep alert, set your heart and mind on the things of God, and He will direct your path.
The world is watching. They are watching how you talk, how you react, how you engage, and how you respond. As a follower of Christ, you are declaring to the world your intent to be like Christ. Do your choices line up with this declaration? Let's be more specific: is what you are saying and posting on your social media reflect the person of Jesus Christ? When in doubt, throw it out. Paul said that when we mind our business, keep busy with the things that matter, then the world will look at us and have respect for who we are and for what we believe. This will impact a lost and broken world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Am I saying that social media is bad? Not necessarily, but there is a huge element of danger there. Be careful. Guard yourself. Paul's instruction was all based on the overarching direction to live a life that is pleasing to God. God desires holy living for you and for me. God desires us to be different and set apart from a fallen world.