Amongst the incredible emphasis on evangelism and missions that is normally touted in evangelical christianity, it’s interesting to run across passages of scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:1–4: (emphasis mine)
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good an acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It’s hard to read that and not come to the conclusion that Paul is saying that God, who desires for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, thinks that the saints in his body leading a tranquil and quiet life together aligns perfectly with that desire.
Or how about 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-11:
…But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,
Really? Our ambition should be to mind our own business and do our jobs? Frankly, that is not the ambition I have found taught in christianity today.
Now, I’m not saying that evangelism is wrong, or that no good has come from it. I’m simply pointing out that the emphasis on evangelism that is taught today is something you’ll be hard-pressed to find taught in the scriptures.
Think about it: Jesus gave what we call the Great Commission to the apostles right before he ascended. Their response then, in our modern way of thinking, should be to go out preaching to all the ends of the earth.
And yet, it seems that they camped out in Jerusalem, tending to the needs of the church for around eight years until persecution caused the church to scatter and spread.
Or, look at Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, which are commonly called “the pastoral epistles” (and should likely be called apostolic letters, since Timothy and Titus were apostolic workers with Paul): In all the instructions Paul gives to these brothers about the important things to teach hese churches, do you find the commands to have the saints go out and witness to the lost on thte street? Go on missions trips? No.
Today, there seems to be emphasis placed on two important aspects: Getting saved, and getting others saved. I agree that these are important. But my point is that there is something critically important which tends to be either glossed over or ignored: The Church, which is the Body of Christ.
Ephesians 4:11–13 specifically mentions evangelists as having an important role in the work of building up the Body, and there’s a goal in that work: That we (the Body of Christ) would grow up into the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ–we’ll be matured together and look like Christ Jesus, together!
That is why the “quiet life” can be such a powerful witness to the world around that it aligns perfectly with the desire of God for all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of him. The Church is the testimony of the life of our King. It’s what Jesus staked his reputation on in John 17:20–23:
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me; The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”