Growing up, I must confess, I heard those words more than a time or two. I’ve tried to get a little better as I’ve gotten older, but occasionally my curiosity (aka nosiness) gets the better of me.
Fortunately, God’s Word has something to say about the subject of minding your own business, so let’s take a look at what He has to say about it in Proverbs 22:29.
“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”
The word diligent is synonymous with minding, paying attention, and being persistent. As for the phrase “mean men”, that doesn’t refer to a bunch of bullies. Rather, it means obscure or ordinary.
But the real gem in this verse is the word business. At face value, we could take this to mean a job or an occupation and that would be partially correct. But there is a much deeper meaning to this word in the Hebrew. The word “business” actually means one’s ministry or the life that God has called each us to uniquely live here on earth.
“Blessed are those who know what on earth they are on earth to do and set themselves about the business of doing it.” Max Lucado
How does practice a life of minding one’s own business?
1. Mind your reputation, not because your own is at stake, but God’s.
Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
If there is one thing a kid hears more growing up than “mind your own business”, it is “do not forget who you represent.” I don’t know how many times I was warned against doing something dumb so I didn’t tarnish my parents’ good names.
But somehow, we Christians fail to make the transition from protecting the reputations of our parents to protecting our Heavenly Father’s reputation. Each of us has made a choice to take on the name of being a Christian, but is how we choose to live mindful of that as well? Often we fail to remember that we’re not just Christians. We’re God’s ambassadors here on earth.
The lost world doesn’t see Christ walking and talking with them on earth in bodily form. Instead, the lost world sees us. Is the example we’re setting mindful of the reputation of God? Are the words coming out of your mouth an example of Christlikeness? Are your activities and lifestyle Monday-Saturday a good testimony to God’s reputation?
2. Mind what you say to others.
The second thing we’re supposed to mind goes hand in hand with the first one. If the world can see a difference in how you are living your life, they are going to start asking questions. When the world starts asking why you do the things you do, are you prepared to answer them? Are you going to give them your opinion on the subject or God’s opinion?
I’m more than happy to give someone Aaress’ opinion on a matter, but how much weight does that carry? Absolutely none. My opinion is no more valuable than anyone else’s on earth.
A lost soul will never be changed by the mere opinions of you or I. Only God and His Word can change a life for eternity. And as Isaiah 55:11 says, God’s Word will not return to Him void.
The only way to be ready to answer is by filling your mind with the Word of God. Immerse yourself in His Word.
Make the decision to be mindful of the business of engrafting God’s Word into your soul. It is only once God’s Word is inside of you that it can come out of you.
3. Mind your landmarks.
Proverbs 22:28 says, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines a landmark as “a mark to designate the boundary of land; any mark or fixed object; as a marked tree, a stone, a ditch, or a heap of stones, by which the limits of a farm, a town or other portion of territory may be known and preserved.”
The key words here are known and preserved. You don’t just know where a landmark is…you preserve it, you hold onto it, and protect it as a valued treasure.
Landmarks in the Bible were special because they were tangible signs of something God gave to His people to keep and preserve. A landmark, to cite a more modern dictionary, is something that marks a turning point in history.
Many times, God gives each of us something special to hold onto. It might be a conviction that helps mark a boundary between a life of the flesh and a life of holiness. It might be a season where you have to draw a line in the sand and choose whether you are going to serve the Lord in a particular area or follow the world. When this happens, God sets a landmark in our lives — something that we can look back upon and preserve during the tough times ahead.
Sadly, sometimes we allow that line in the sand to get blurred as we go through life. Landmarks are forgotten or pushed back as we slowly but surely start creeping further into the world’s territory.
One of the dangers of moving landmarks is that it doesn’t just affect you. It affects everyone who is walking alongside you and coming behind you in future generations.
What are the blessings of minding one’s business, this set-apart life that God has called you to live?
You will stand strong in the midst of a dark world and make a difference. You will be set apart to do great things for God.
You won’t live a life that is ordinary.
Instead, you will live the extraordinary, serving God mightily right where He has placed you.