Jump Start # 3285
1 Timothy 2:1-2 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.“
Paul wanted the disciples to be praying. The apostle lists four different words for prayers: entreaties, prayers, petitions and thanksgiving. They are all prayers but they are uniquely different. Not every prayer is the same. Not every prayer asks the same things. And, on top of that, they were not to only pray for themselves. They were to pray for kings and all who are in authority, which in those days included the vile, wicked and violent Caesars. Pray that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life. Those in charge can impact that, and they have. Laws against assemblies, worship and baptism would profoundly impact the disciples. The disciples were not overthrowing the government. Their goal was to live a tranquil and quiet life.
Think about that expression from our verse today, “tranquil and quiet life.” Not a loud life. Not a “in you face” life. Not a revolutionary. Not a trouble-maker. But a peaceful life. A quiet life.
First, our choices and involvement especially on social media has a lot to do with a tranquil and quiet life. Stirring things up by posting things that irritate and bother others draws a response. People jump into the discussion. Lots of things are said back and forth. Anger surfaces. Name calling. Insulting terms are used. Those things get people excited in a negative way. It creates strife and stress. It causes the blood to boil for some. I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. Toss some bait out into the water and see if any sharks attack. They will.
Now, this is not the path to a tranquil and quiet life. “Did you read what this guy posted on Facebook,” and off we go, canons loaded and ready to go to war. We can’t police what people post. But you certainly do not have to attend every argument that you are invited to. Keeping that tranquil and quiet life may mean not reading what people post. It may mean keeping to yourself.
Second, even without social media, we can take sides and get involved in disputes that take place within the congregation. Something was said. It wasn’t said to us, about us or concerning us, but we feel compelled to jump into the skirmish and get involved. We muddy the waters when we do that. And, at the end of the day, we have not lived a peaceful, quiet life. We helped stir things up. We kept the fire going. We got in the middle of things that was none of our business. Rather than encouraging, we often discourage. Rather than helping, we can hurt. Rather than making things better, we can make things worse.
Third, the tranquil and quiet life is a state of the mind. It’s not about sitting on the beach and watching the tides roll in. It’s not about a lazy Saturday afternoon where a nap is the most important thing on your list of things to get done. No, in the midst of a busy day, a heavy work schedule, lots of people around and lots of demands, your life can still be peaceful and quiet. This comes from the insides and not the outsides. This comes from knowing our Savior. This is not a quality found only after retirement. Retirement is a concept that was not known in the first century world.
Letting the word of Christ richly dwell within you, as the Colossians were told leads to the tranquil life. Letting your mind dwell upon things that are pure, lovely and good as the Philippians were instructed leads to a quiet life. Worry, fear, anger, doubt stir us up and agitates our insides. As much as I do not like the movie “Frozen,” the major song, “Let it go,” is so appropriate here. Let things go. Let the shepherds shepherd. Let the deacons serve. Work out your own salvation. Stop being upset about who parks their car where, how late some come, where some sit and on and on and on, the list goes.
For years I used a story when I taught about worship about a couple driving home after Sunday morning services. The wife asked her husband if he saw sister Smith’s shoes. The husband said no. The wife asked if he saw how late the Jones family came in. The husband said no. The wife asked if saw who was sitting with the Thompson girl. The husband said no. Finally, frustrated, the wife declared, “It does you a lot of good going to church.” Bothered by others was Martha’s problem. It wasn’t serving. It was she was serving and her sister was sitting. That’s what bothered her. It burnt the biscuits.
How do I live a peaceful and quiet life? I stop allowing others to bother me and I focus upon what a wonderful relationship I have with Jesus. I think about the powerful spiritual blessings found in Christ. I think about how He has forgiven me and loves me.
Peaceful. Tranquil. Quiet. Have you prayed for those things? Have you sought those things? It sure makes a difference in your life when you stop trying to run the universe and fix everyone you come in contact with.