Do you think about leading a quiet life?
By Don Ruhl
If you made a clone of quietness, you would have peace. If you cloned quietness again, you would get gentleness. If you made a double of quietness, you would have the life of Christ. There is a time to run, and a time to stop running.
Don’t just do something, stand there! Moses told Israel when they came to the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army at their backs, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Ex. 14:13).
Israel cried to God. Then it was time to be quiet and watch God work. However, quietness is not always inactive.
Quietness Is Loud
It can be so loud it deafens. Stop the noise. Go where no or little noise exists. See how long you can stand it, or see if you can ignore it. Quietness demands attention. To say quietness is loud is to say less is more.
The quiet one has serenity and that gets noticed. People wonder why that person has calmness, especially during a time of trouble. Consider two examples. When Alexander Campbell first attempted to migrate to America, a violent storm interrupted his journey, so much so that the ship hit rocks and all abroad was chaos. His son-in-law wrote, “Among the passengers, however, there was one unknown female, who, amidst all the dreadful noise and turmoil of the elements and the contagious sympathy of fear, sat quietly by herself, nursing her babe. This, under the circumstances, appeared to the Campbells very singular, and it indicates their comparative calmness that they noticed her particularly, as she sat apparently unconscious of the raging winds and waves and the imminence of the danger, sheltering, as best she could, her helpless infant” (Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, volume 1, p. 102).
Fear and terror struck the other passengers, but this woman had peace and quietness in her spirit. A quiet life does not worry. A quiet spirit does not fear.
Mark 4 shows the disciples of Jesus noticing His quiet life when, just like the Campbell family and that woman, He had peace on a boat during a storm, “Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, ‘Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?’” (Mk. 4:36–40).
He had quietness. They had fear. He had faith. They had doubt. Therefore, have faith so you can be bold and then you shall live the quiet life.
Proverbs 17 implies that quietness is contentment. If a spirit is content, there is no need for a troubled spirit. “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife” (Pr. 17:1).
He who has quietness with only a dry morsel gets noticed. People wonder how such a person can have quietness instead of frustration and anger at the world for not giving him more.
Solomon said again, this time in Ecclesiastes 9, to consider the quietness of the wise person. He lets his wisdom do the speaking, because He knows that power comes from truth, not from the delivery of truth. “Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard rather than the shout of a ruler of fools” (Ec. 9:17).
Quietness Is Not Laziness
First Thessalonians 4 associates the quiet life with the right kind of activity. Those who do what Paul wrote here are not lazy, but they are the true workers, “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your 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” (1Th. 4:9–12).
Nothing surpasses the work of love. Yet, he who leads a quiet Christian life loves. Therefore, nothing surpasses the quiet working life of love. Quietness is not laziness. Quietness is not the life of a coward. Jesus led a quiet life. Yet, He worked endlessly and feared no one.
Paul taught in First Timothy 2 that we ought to pray for our political leaders. Why do we pray for them? Is it that we might lead a fun life, filled with wealth when we retire? We pray for our leaders that we may have a quiet life, but that is not all. Prayer in this case is a means to an end. However, a quiet life is not the end either, but another link in the chain of means, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1Ti. 2:1–7).
We pray for all of our society, especially our leaders, that we may have a quiet life, because it creates a better atmosphere for us to teach all people!
Quietness Changed the World
The quiet life of Jesus Christ made a difference beyond our ability to comprehend. What did He do for the first 30 years of His life? He built things with wood. We know nothing else of what He did, except for some events surrounding His birth, and a journey His family made to Jerusalem when He was 12.
Think about this from John 1. When Jesus finally began His ministry at the age of 30, the reaction shows that He had lived a quiet life. Listen to the response from people living outside Nazareth. “The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, ‘Follow Me.’ Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ And Nathanael said to him, ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ Philip said to him, ‘Come and see’” (Jn. 1:43–46). That’s interesting. Jesus had not been doing something to make Himself noticed so that the reaction would have been, “Oh, we are not surprised. We have been hearing of some wonderful things coming out of Nazareth!”
Jesus had lived such a quiet life that when He finally began His ministry at the age of 30, the reaction of His hometown shows that He had lived a quiet life. Listen to the response from people living inside Nazareth. “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him. And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue. And many hearing Him were astonished, saying, ‘Where did this Man get these things? And what wisdom is this which is given to Him, that such mighty works are performed by His hands! Is this not the carpenter, the Son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?’ So they were offended at Him” (Mk. 6:1–3). Even the people who knew Him, refused to believe He was teaching such wonderful things.
Yes, eventually the world came to know Jesus, but not because He made Himself known through a noisy ministry. He did not go around bragging of Himself. He did not dance in the end zone. Muhammad Ali boasted that he was the greatest, but look at him now. Jesus said nothing of that nature, but look at Him now on the throne of heaven!
Mark 1 records the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. He entered a synagogue and taught. A man appeared with an unclean spirit. Listen to the demon’s confession, but also listen to what Jesus told the demon. “Then they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught. And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’” (Mk. 1:21–25).
Why did Jesus silence the demon rather than using his confession to show the truth of Jesus? Mark’s Account of the Gospel of Christ shows that Jesus continued to operate this way. “Then He commanded them that they should tell no one; but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it” (Mk. 7:36). “Then He strictly warned them that they should tell no one about Him” (Mk. 8:30). “Now as they came down from the mountain, He commanded them that they should tell no one the things they had seen, till the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mk. 9:9).
Jesus looked not for fame and fortune. He cared not for His own good, but glorified God and helped people. That is the quiet life.
Matthew 12 reveals that the behavior of Jesus in those last three passages from Mark fulfilled prophecy concerning the nature of the Servant of God. Look at Jesus in operation, then hear the prophecy and hear it speak of a quiet life, “But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench, till He sends forth justice to victory; and in His name Gentiles will trust’” (Mt. 12:15–21).
He led the quiet life, but the prophecy also said, His quietness remains until “He sends forth justice to victory.”
In the Book of Revelation John revealed, while Jesus is a Lamb, He is also a Lion. The Book of Revelation pictures Him fighting war in chapter 19.
Do not mistake His quiet life for the feeble life or the weak life or the pushover life. He lived a quiet life because He knew the truth, He lived the truth, He knew what He would do, and He knows what He will do.
He is not frustrated. He is calm in His spirit as He awaits the Judgment Day.
Only those who know and live the truth as He did can have calm spirits now as they await that glorious day.
Are you leading the quiet life that First Thessalonians 4 says we should aspire to?