Word Wednesday Nugget 

Give Me Back My Business 

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Dr. Rebekah  McCloud 

During my time as an elementary school principal, two eight-year-olds got into a classroom scuffle. Assembled in my office for disciplinary action, they sat contritely with their eyes on me; their palpable anticipation filled the room. I glanced at both and asked the obligatory question, “So, what happened?” The one with the tear-streaked face piped up, “She hit me.” The other retorted, “Yeah, I hit her. She was in my business. I told her to give me back my business and stay out of it. She kept running her mouth, so I hit her. I bet she will stay out now.”

Her answer stunned me.  I have often thought of that little girl and her response.  Just turn on the television or radio, scroll through social media, or read the newspaper or a magazine and one will find other people’s business on display. The lives of some reality TV characters, athletes, actors, politicians, Christian leaders, and regular folks like you and me are sometimes messy. Sometimes our private lives become public and unfold in living color. What would this world be like if everyone tended to their own business and stayed out of the business of others? Would there be less strife and less gossip? Would Lady Whistledown be out of business? I wonder.

Nonetheless, most of us are looking from the outside into a situation. Things are not always as they appear. None of us can judge. That is God’s job and God’s business. Borrowing from the little girl, give God back his business and stay out of it. Being concerned about the well-being of others, giving counsel, or lending a hand when needed are appropriate actions. Philippians 2:4 tells us to look to the interests of others. Titus 2: 4-6 tells older women to teach the younger women. Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens. When we do these things, they should not be for show or to get the 411. 

The Bible is clear in its guidance regarding gossip, meddling, and busybodies. 1 Peter 4:15 warns that none should “suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler.” Proverbs 26:17 says, “Getting involved in an argument that is none of your business is like going down the street and grabbing a dog by the ears.” Proverbs 20:19says, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so, avoid anyone who talks too much.” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what helps build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” My momma used to say, “Everybody does not need their mouths on everything. It is not expedient to speak always.”

Saints, no doubt, a lot is going on; we have a lot of work to do. We cannot afford to let our gaze linger on the things that are not of God. We need healthy eyes to do God’s work (Matthews 6:22-24). Let us use our eyes for good. As Christians, we are not blind to the world. We are in the world, but not of the world (John 15:19). We are perfectly imperfect beings. Many of us are still striving. We are works in progress; God is not finished with us yet.

When we focus on the tasks set before us, guaranteed, we will not have time to get or to spill the tea. We will not have time to meddle, to gossip, or to be a busy body. I Thessalonians 4:11 says, “To make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business.” We should always let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in God’s sight (Psalm 19:14).

My prayer is that He and not tea will fill my cup. Lord, keep my eyes, ears, and mouth free from gossip. Keep my feet from treading where they should not go. Keep my hands clean and keep me free from meddling behavior. Keep my heart pure and my mind on you. Keep me ready for thy service and fulfill your purpose for me. Amen.

Dr. Rebekah McCloud

More than 40 years of service in education (K-12 and higher education). Authored more than 100 publications , made more than 200 presentations, designed workshops, and facilitated training.  

Rebekah McCloud is a retired faculty administrator who last served as the Executive Director of TRIO Programs at the University of Central Florida. She has one video in the C-SPAN Video Library; the first appearance was a 1999 Forum.

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