Thursday, August 2, 2012

Clucking Hens

               As I was reading in 1 Thessalonians, I came across a scripture passage that jumped out at me. As I pondered upon it, I realized that many of us women are struggling in our walks because we are focused on what is going on around us, rather than what the Lord wants to do in us. Paul writes to the Thessalonians in chapter 4 that they “should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.” (vs. 1-2) Paul had been telling them to love one another, to walk worthy of the Lord Jesus in all that they do. He goes on to tell them to abstain from sexual immorality; he advises them to take control of their own vessels, to control their lusts and their anger. (vs. 3-6)
                Their love for one another was evident, they were full of love for the brethren, and Paul encourages them to continue in that love. He does, however, give some very good advice to them; he urges them that they need to “aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind their own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” (4:10-12)
I once had a boss say that when you put women in the same room together for too long, it started to look like a hen house, always clucking and pecking at each other. When I first heard that, I was kind of offended, but after what I read today in my bible, I would have to agree with him! I have unfortunately been one of the hens getting pecked and I have been one of the hens doing the pecking. Women are talkers, we just are naturally. But the bible tells us that we are to lead a quiet and peaceable life, but for some of us (me in particular) who like to talk, quiet and peaceable don’t really fit into my vocabulary.
                As I read the words “aspire to lead a quiet life,” I was convicted. I thought about what my boss from years ago said, and knew that what he spoke was truer than I was willing to admit at the time. Paul urges the Thessalonians and us ladies today, to aspire. Aspire means “to be industrious”. It means a zeal for the honor that comes not through self-assertion or a show of personal greatness, but through humble, industrious, and unimpeachable behavior. Something I have lacked throughout the years.
                So many times I see and hear women running here and there and everywhere, doing this thing and that thing, saying this and that about someone else. I have a few women in my life that model this “quiet life” that Paul is referring to, and I thank them for the example they have led before me. I have been that hen pecking at the looks and the faults of other women in the church. I have found myself in a group of women that all of a sudden start pecking and clucking like a bunch of hens. I have found myself to be drawn into it all in a matter of minutes. We, ladies, are to stay away from all that clucking and aspire to lead a quiet life, minding our own business.
                So what should a quiet life look like? In my Women’s Study Bible, there is a notation that reads, “staying out of everyone's business and concentrating on the many tasks the Lord has given her to do (Titus 2:3-5).” We should be able to identify those women in our church, in our small groups and in our workplace that are peaceable and restrained, their attitude is not on what is going on around them, but on God alone. A woman that is aspiring to lead a quiet life will not be running from here to there, always in crisis mode, there will be trials and sufferings, but they will not overcome her, they will not overtake her because she is resting and trusting in God.          
                Pastor Chuck Smith writes, “You know, with some people everything is a crisis, and they live from one crisis to the next. But he [Paul] says, "Study to be . . . just live a quiet life." And that really is a simple life, and we need to learn to just live a simple life, a quiet life.” How true that is! With some women everything is a crisis, I think today we call them “drama queens”. We should be studying those women that lead a quiet life, who seem to have it all together, nothing shakes them, they take things as they come and lay them down at the feet of Jesus.
Matthew Henry writes, “It is the most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behavior. This tends much to our own and others’ happiness; and Christians should study how to be quiet. We should be ambitious and industrious how to be calm and quiet in our minds, in patience to possess our own souls, and to be quiet towards others; or of a meek and mild, a gentle and peaceable disposition, not given to strife, contention, or division…those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men’s matters, generally have but little quiet in their own minds and cause great disturbances among their neighbors..” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible)
                I have unfortunately been one of those busy bodies, and I have seen what a busy body can do to a church and to the sisters that I have been given. A very wise woman once said to me, “Stay in your own lane.” When I get on the phone or even in the same room with a busy body, I am uncomfortable and I want away from them. That is how I know that the Lord is working in me in regards to this issue in my life. We, who aspire to lead a quiet life, will not be able to tolerate for long those that are not. Ladies, I do not want any of you to think that I am being hard on our fellow sisters, but more and more churches are divided and torn apart by busy bodies, those who seek to peck and to cluck about everyone else instead of focusing on their own walks. I even know some men who are busy bodies, and always in everyone else’s business, but women tend to be the ones doing most of the clucking.
                Ladies, if there is anything we can learn from this short visit in 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12 is that our lives and our walks should be an example to others. If we are sitting around clucking and pecking on everyone else, what does that say to those who are on the outside looking in? We should be studying a quiet life, what it looks like, how do we apply it to ourselves, and how do we live it out among each other. I too have struggled with the busy body sin, and the sin of gossip, the sin of pointing out the faults of others because I was not ready to deal with the fault in myself. I urge you today to find a lady in your church, small group, women’s group, just find a woman that models this quiet life, and aspire to be like her. I promise you, that once we learn to lead a quiet life, and stay in our own lanes, our walk and our relationships with others will change dramatically.
                I am never disappointed when I allow the Lord to purge out something within me that is not of Him, and neither will you be disappointed. Let us go before the Lord and seek a quiet life with Him, a simple and unhindered walk that will be an example to others. Let us aspire to lead a quiet life, minding our own business, and loving Him because He first loved us. May the quiet peace that comes only from Jesus Christ be in you today and every day, Amen and Amen.