Minding Our Own Business

How many of my readers remember Ann Landers (1918-2002) whose quote is found in the pic at the top of this blog post? I tried never to miss reading her advice column in the newspaper during all those years she was considered to be America’s #1 advice columnist. The following information on her comes from AnnLanders.com:

Ann Landers was the country’s #1 advice columnist for 47 years. Her advice was printed in English-language papers all over the world. She was the most widely read human relations adviser of all time, and the most widely syndicated. At the height of the newspaper business, when many towns had two newspapers, her readership was 90 million people. Her trademark was common sense advice rendered in everyday language–often with a dash of humor. It was she who began the practice of obtaining counsel from authorities in different fields, which she then passed on to her readers. She used to say, “For the price of a stamp, you can receive advice from a renowned expert.” (When she began writing, in 1955, there was no Internet, so people with problems had to write a letter and send it through the mail!)

She was famous, yet down to earth. She was a beloved figure who earned the gratitude of millions of people. Her mission was to shine light where there was darkness and to educate her readers along the way. And her work caused many people to realize that common sense ain’t so common. In a way, she was America’s mother. (Quote source here.)

We could certainly use a mother like Ann Landers today. We now live in a world where everybody has an opinion on everything and everyone, and nobody seems to care about the truth. And nobody even knows what “common sense advice” is today, either. But then postmodernism and beyond it has made truth appear to be relative to one’s own liking or opinion. And who genuinely cares about your neighbor next door (and we probably know more about our neighbor’s business then they do with today’s technology). We don’t think twice about gossiping about others, whether it’s truthful or not (and what we hear and repeat is usually full of half truths and exaggerations). And lying about others with a syrupy sweet smile and nauseously nice twinkle in the eye is at an all time high today, too. Wow… how did we get from there to here in under twenty years?

I ran into an interesting website the other day but I forget now what the actual topic was that I was researching. The URL is illbehonest.com, and this particular blog post on that blog showed up in my search results. The blog post was published on April 17, 2016, and it is titled, Nosy Christians: Mind Your Own Business,” by Mack Tomlinson of Providence Chapel. He has served as an editor and book publisher, and he also conducts an itinerant preaching ministry around the U.S., overseas in Eastern Europe, the South Pacific, and other areas of the world (source here). 

Actually, minding one’s own business is good for everyone and not just those who consider themselves to be Christians, but his article is written specifically with Christians in mind.

Mack’s blog post opens with a YouTube video which I have not watched yet, but I have read his blog post titled, Nosy Christians: Mind Your Own Business.” and here is what he had to say:

The Lord tells Peter, “keep your eyes only on me.” Now where do you find that? Well, notice what the Lord said to Peter at the end of verse 19, “Follow me.” But what did Peter do? The next sentence says he turned and saw John. The Lord had said, “Follow me.” Peter turns and sees John. Peter is distracted about God’s will for John.

Think about it, here’s this big context of the Lord restoring Peter in love, calls him again to shepherd the sheep. Tells him how he’s going to die. And then the Lord says, “Follow me.” Wouldn’t that be enough for now?

Well, apparently not, because Peter turns, and looks at John and says, “Well, what about him?” Why did Peter do that? It may have been, if he realizes he’s gonna die, he was close to John, he wonders is this his fate, too? “What are you gonna do with John? What about John’s future?” And Jesus in essence said, “What about John? Was I talking about John? Is my business about John’s future your business?” or as we would say, “This is on a need to know basis and guess what? What is that to you, follow me.”

See, we’re called not to be distracted by others. Christ called us, especially by those we love and are closest to. We’re not to be distracted by others and their calling, and God’s will for them, their situations, and Peter was distracted with a viewpoint, an attitude, nosiness, meddling, and wondering about what was not his business. How easy is it for people to become a distracting hindrance to our single eyed devotion. Our minds can so easily be on others paths more than our own path. If John’s future was Peter’s responsibility Jesus would have mentioned it to Peter. He did not say, “Peter here’s your new commission: love me, feed my sheep, die for me, and, oh, here’s information about John because you’re responsible for him also.” He didn’t say that. Jesus restores the fallen Peter, reaffirms his calling, and has to rebuke the nosy Peter.

Peter should leave all distractions alone because they weren’t his. “What is that to you? What business is that of yours?” And how often do we need to hear this. We say, “Well I don’t think that church over there is quite doing right. What’s that to you? You follow Christ.” “Well I don’t think they have the right view of which translation of the Bible to use.” “That it’s none of your business, you follow Christ.” “Well I think they’re too young to be going to the mission field.”

How much are we carnally curious about other people’s issues when we haven’t even fully dealt with our own, and we aren’t fully obeying Christ as to what He’s shown us to do. Jesus declines to satisfy Peter’s curiosity; it is no business of Peter’s of what is going to happen to John. Even if the Lord wills for John to stay alive… why would Peter even need to know? He doesn’t need to know anything about John.

How much do we need to know about God’s purpose and will for others, even those we’re closest to? How much do we really need to know? Elders and pastors need to know. Church leaders need to know, more often times for the protection, but generally speaking how much do we need to know about God’s business and other people’s lives? What is that to you, oh thou nosy Christian! Mind your own business; keep to your own stuff.

You know, one of the greatest examples of this mistake is King Josiah. He reigned 31 years in Jerusalem. He became King when he was 8 years old. At 16, the Bible says he began to seek the Lord seriously. He began to seek the God of David. And he began purging Jerusalem of idols and carved images. [He is] one of the best kings in Israel’s history. In 2 Kings, in 2 Chronicles, it gives his record. He kept the Passover in Jerusalem; he appointed priests to their offices, and encourage them in the service of the house of God. He put the Ark in the Temple that Solomon built. He cut down the alters of Baal; and he was present himself when those men cut those alters to Baal down, the Bible says. He told the priests, “Consecrate yourselves and prepare for your brothers to do according to the word of the Lord by Moses.” The singers, the sons of Asaph, were under Josiah’s leadership in Israel. And the Bible says, “There was no Passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of Samuel the Prophet” [which] summarizes Josiah’s life. The rest of the acts of Josiah and his good deeds are written in the book of the kings.

But you know what? Do you remember his major misstep? One big misstep cost him his life. He didn’t apostatize and worship the Baals. He didn’t love, like Solomon, a bunch of strange women and let them pull his heart away to false gods like Solomon did. What did Josiah do? He didn’t mind his own business. He began meddling in affairs that weren’t his. He began to pick a fight with a dog, but the dog didn’t want to fight him. But he picked the fight and the dog had to fight him. Chronicles says after Josiah prepared the Temple, he heard about Neco, the king of Egypt, who was going to war with someone over near the Euphrates river. And it’s not Josiah’s business; it’s not his battle. He doesn’t have a bone to pick. Israel’s welfare is not at stake! But he couldn’t leave it alone. Josiah goes out to meet Neco basically to pick a fight when Neco wasn’t coming to Israel. And the Bible says Neco sent messengers to Josiah. They said this, “What do we have to do with you, O King? What do we have to do with each other? I’m not coming against you this day, but someone else. Listen, I’m in a hurry. Stop! Because God is with me. Lest He destroy you!” And here was Josiah’s mistake. The Bible says, “Nevertheless, Josiah did not turn away from him; he did not listen to the words of Neco, from the mouth of God, but instead he came to fight.” And the archers shot Josiah and he died and was buried. And the Bible says, “All Jerusalem and all Judah mourned for Josiah, and Jeremiah the Prophet lamented his death. Neco was saying, ‘What is that to you? You worship Jehovah. What is that to you? This isn’t your fight. You’re not called to meddle here.’” Watch meddling!

A dear favorite preacher of mine said one time: “Watch out for meddling, don’t meddle in what’s not your business! Don’t be concerned about stuff that’s not for you to fix.” You follow Christ! You stay focused on Him and don’t let people, even those you love the most, distract you from steadfast single-eyed obedience! “What is that to you, Peter? You follow Me.” And that’s the final thing the Lord said to him. Not only “Love Me, feed My sheep, die for Me, mind your own business–but follow Me.” And the Lord says it twice here. “Follow Me!” And then at the end, He says: “You, follow Me. Just follow Me.” “Love Me, care for my sheep, follow Me, feed them, love them, watch out for them. Don’t let anyone mess with my Bride! Shepherd my sheep!” (Quote source here.)

After I read what he wrote, I had to give some serious thought to my own life and how I tend to judge circumstances (especially over these past dozen years since I lost my job back in 2009 and I ever found another one), including my own judgments of others, according to what I think might be going on, without having any real clue as to the actual nature of what is going on “behind the scenes” in my own circumstances. Talk about an arrow striking my own heart.

For those of us who consider ourselves to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ, His words to Peter are directly aimed at us, too, regardless of what anyone else thinks. We should not question what He is doing in someone else’s life. We have enough in our own lives to manage without prying into other people’s lives that is, well, quite frankly, none of our business. God is quite capable of running the universe without our prying into areas and other people’s lives where we do not belong. And He doesn’t want us prying into others’ lives and assuming things that could be so far removed from the truth and that in the end only damages us.

Enough said. I’ll end this post with a few words from Jesus to Peter when he questioned Jesus about another disciple, found in John 21:21-23

What is that to you . . .

You must . . .

Follow Me . . . .

YouTube Video: “Follow Me” by Shonlock:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here