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“Aim for the stars”

” I Thessalonians 4:11,12

The two verses that are quoted for us above seem to be pregnant with much instruction
for our daily life, “In the common things of life” in which we ought to excel and bring
glory to the Lord. At least three things come to the fore immediately we read these
verses. They are:

1. “Make it your ambition” This is the first point that strikes one when we consider
the 11th verse. The blessed Apostle is talking in the context of “Living to please
God” in our daily walk. The Apostle acknowledges that these Christians had
made excellent strides in their practical daily lives but he urges them further (v1).
This is the way a Christian ought to be, to desire to grow in this grace of good
works (Titus 2:14) and never tire or grow weary in the work of the Lord- for our
labours in the Lord are not in vain (Galatians 6:9, I Corinthians 15:58, 1
Thessalonians 4:10, 2 Thessalonians 3:13). Many run well for a season like the
Galatians (Galatians 5:7) but alas! Soon after wards, they grow weary or
bewitched. What is the reason? What is the root cause? They never make it their
ambition to follow Christ at all costs, yet it is fitting to note from our text that this
“ambition” is with respect to our conversation or behavioural patterns here below.
Be it you the only saint in the home, church or town, it should be your chief goal
to speak only what is helpful, and seasoned with much grace and integrity
(Ephesians 4:28, 29 Colossians 4:6). Many are loud but empty like the clanging
cymbal. This verse in no way prohibits any saint from being a public figure or
prominent in civil matters∉ but rather, it stresses the inner character of the soul

Refer to a number of scriptures that show prominent saints such as Rom 16:23b,Titus 3:13 and Colossians
4:14 among many

Make it your ambition Billy Sichone

which will ultimately flow out for the world to see. The Lord Jesus once said that
the believers were in the world but not of it, meaning that they were to use the
things of time sparingly and meticulously like a chemist handles chemicals
ensuring that he doth not contaminate his own blood. There fore, Paul is saying to
you and I, “make it your ambition…” and you will tick in your generation. Would
you like to be like the men of Issachar who knew the times? (I Chronicles 12:32)
Then go out there having first of all made it your ambition to serve Christ in your
calling. Refuse to settle for less, yea, resolve this day to follow him.

But what were the Thessalonians to resolve? A number of resolution points are given
us in the ensuing parts of the passage:

a. To lead a quiet life-this suggests a quiet, consistent, steady, progressive and

diligent way of life. Busy people rarely have time to pick faults and petty quarrels
with their neighbours. This quietness is not the “morbid” or uncomfortable type of
quietness but one which is soft, gentle, and slow to speak but quick to listen. One
would rather be wronged than the reverse. The quiet life is noticed by its massive
high quality results churned out. Oh how we need such grace to be quiet! Be busy
at work, at home, at school working as unto the Lord (Ephesians 6:7, Ecclesiastes
9:10) and I am not afraid of the result. You too will soon be busy and quiet, but
first things first, resolve!

b. In the second place, these Christians were to make it their ambition to mind their
own business. This point flows or is a direct consequence of the above point. It is
so closely connected with leading a quiet life in the sense that as you resolve to
mind your own business, definitely you will be quiet as a result of being
preoccupied. There fore, as the problem mountains, issues, trials, work pressure

Make it your ambition Billy Sichone

grow, one is bound to be too busy sorting them out. Hence, he ultimately minds
his own business. Covetous souls find it most difficult to mind their own business
because their envious eyes, above all else, are simply never full. When others
prosper and not them, they feel terribly affected negatively. A sour spirit
encroaches into their hearts. But nay, the apostle says that we have to resolve to
relentlessly work at it so that we learn to read providence where ever it has placed
us (Acts 17:26). Learn brethren, to mind your business by being weaned from the
world and being Christo centric in your attitude. A word of caution is here timely-
never be an island! Don’t be so aloof from this real world but ensure that you
cultivate a spirit which is free from covetousness, for how will you pray
intelligently for others without adequate and correct timely information? How will
you rejoice with those who rejoice or mourn with those who mourn? Just in case
you are already infected with the meddling virus, good Mr Cowper once prayed in
a hymn, “The dearest Idol I have known, what’re that idol be, help me to tear it
from thy throne and worship only thee.” So may you pray this deliverance prayer
today. I say again, resolve!

c. Thirdly, they were to ensure that they worked with their hands. They had to fold
their sleeves and get busy in production! In these rapid privatisation days in
Zambia , the catch phrase is “Produce or lose out”. Paul’s words in 2
Thessalonians 3:12 come in handy at this time. Isn’t it the same man that could
freely say to the Ephesian elders that he had laboured for his daily food night and
day? With what? With his own hands! Production, production, production is it!
(Acts 20:32-35). This rebukes such as are lazy in their stations in life. Be it at
school, home or at the office, we should aim to use all our vigour to serve him.
Some have great mental powers, others are more pragmatic while others still are
excellent pen men. Are you using your gifts and talents all to glorify God? Or is it
for it for Lord ego only? Remember-resolve!

The Apostle had two chief reasons for urging the saints so to live-both were aimed at
glorifying God…
1. So that their daily lives could win respect from outsiders. Christians should be
people of integrity where ever they are positioned. Methinks that our daily lives
are Christ’s epistles for the heathen to read. Some may never pick up a Bible to

As at 1995, 3 to 4 years after the privatisation act was enacted and many companies privatised enmass.

Make it your ambition Billy Sichone

read but they will certainly read our lives! The “other siders” in the text refers to
all who are outside the commonwealth of Isreal. These could be our very blood
brothers and sisters, relatives and friends. Can they see the Christ in you? Or are
you just like to rest except that on Sunday you go to church while they go to the
stadium? Do you truly command respect as a result of your conduct and unique
life style? Haven’t you read that there is such a thing as winning without the
word? (1 Peter 3:3b). “They are watching you, marking all you do, hearing the
things you say”, wrote one fine hymn writer years ago. Are you a trend setter
within and without the church? I echo my word, no resolution, no fruit! Therefore,
2. The second and last reason for such an exhortation is rather straight forward. Yet
it is instructive for us to take careful heed to these words-we must not be parasites
to anyone. Should you & I labour with all our might, the Lord will certainly
graciously bless our labours, in his own appointed way of course∨. Trust in the
Lord at all times and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 3:5). This trust is an active
pragmatic one. The diligent person is pictured as one who will “stand before
Kings”. Methinks this is true in every sense (Proverbs 22:29). I have lived long
enough to see this. Brethren, let us labour to be independent and seek to help
others instead! It was Paul’s motto to work hard so as to help the weak (Acts
20:34, 35). These weak people are not there by design or desire, but rather
providence has placed them there. Oh might God help us to be like those at
Thessalonica who exerted themselves to doing more and more good! Though the
resurrection and the “Perousia” is close at hand, we must endeavour to live such
good lives among the pagans (I Peter 2:12).

Reader, will you resolve with me this day to redeem the time? I am content to meet
you on the day of rewards!

Adieu & Amen

Billy Sichone
11:20 hrs
AD 18.5.1995
LBC sanctuary

1. I Timothy 2:2
2. Titus 3:14
3. I Timothy 6:18
4. I Thessalonians 5:14
5. 2 Thessalonians 3:10, 11,12
6. Exodus 20:8
7. I Peter 2:12

Bearing in mind that God answers prayers and efforts by wise denials when His children ask amiss.
Refers to the second coming of Christ when history shall be wrapped up.

Make it your ambition Billy Sichone

8. Ephesians 6:7
9. I Corinthians 10:31
10. Colossians 3:23

Make it your ambition Billy Sichone