I can never forget an old funny story I heard about busybodies. In this story, there was a fight going down on the street between two people and many people had gathered to watch; apparently, in the story, nobody cared to separate them. They seemed to have had an argument which led to the fight. They fought and fought until they simultaneously killed each other (I wasn’t there o!). There was a man in the crowd who was really enjoying the fight and seriously wanted to know who eventually won, in his opinion, they were going to continue the fight in the spirit world, so guess what he did? He killed himself so he could go join them in the spirit world to confirm for himself who finally won the fight. The truth is, many people are like that man in real life, the only difference is that their busybody endeavours are what land them in trouble, not that they actually kill themselves. Today, we would be talking about the importance of staying on the course God has given to us and minding our business. John the Baptist is a very good example and he will be our case study.
John the Baptist
Without any further ado, John was the second cousin of Jesus (Luke 1:36), the product of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a child of their old age and a child of promise (Luke 1:13). Just as every man has his purpose on earth, John also was born with a divine purpose. This was what angel Gabriel said concerning him when he appeared to Zechariah in Luke 1:15-17,
“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
That was the summary of his purpose on earth even before he was born. Growing up, he then started his ministry and fulfilling God’s plan for his life as we see below in Luke 3:1-4,
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”
Verse 4 tells us that Isaiah had even earlier prophesied concerning John and his assignment on earth in Isaiah 40:3.
Now, this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, who art thou? (John 1:19).
“Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” (John 1:22-23).
So we see a recorded declaration and acknowledgment by John himself as to his purpose and assignment on earth; and apparently, he was fulfilling his purpose on earth.
In John 1:19, we then see a recognition and acknowledgment of Christ by John, it says,
“John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.”
We know that John had disciples (Matthew 9:14), meaning that he did really go far in his ministry, but along the line, John derailed and dabbled into another man’s business, which did not concern him and this landed him in trouble, which eventually took his life. There was no record of any instruction or leading from above directing for him to do so. Matthew 14:3-5 gives us an insight into what John did, it says:
“For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.”
Luk 3:19-20 gives a little more detail into the scenario, it says,
“But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.”
John was put in prison, not because he was serving God, but because he meddled into Herod’s affairs, which was none of his business, nobody sent him. For instance, why would I go and start telling President Goodluck Jonathan that he shouldn’t have married Patience Jonathan? Or, why would I have told former President Olusegun Obasanjo that being a Christian, he shouldn’t have married Late Stella Obasanjo as a second or third wife and made her his first lady? What is my business? I could preach clear Biblical principles using real life examples, and even use real people and their real names, like I sometimes do, but for me to go to those people and start confronting them, I need to hear the crystal clear voice of God.
Don’t get me wrong, John was actually defending the truth, but was he really doing the right thing, was he in line with the will of God? Even when Jesus went into the temple and drove out the traders (Matthew 21:12-13), he was acting according to the will of God (Isaiah 56:7). When Jeremiah spoke against the kings and princes of Judah, he was following God’s explicit directives (Jeremiah 1:17-19).
When John left his business and meddled into Herod’s affairs, the after effects of his derailment were seriously bad. John started doubting Jesus as the Christ, whom he had earlier acknowledged when he was still on track in John 1:19. Here is what Matthew 11:2-5 has to say,
“Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
You can see that he started doubting Jesus, because he had derailed from the plan and was now in prison. He heard the works of Christ and he was still doubting, seeking for further proof; yet he was the one who literally baptized Jesus.
Lastly, it is not usually the penalty for being a busybody, but in the case of John, it led to his death. John was killed by Herodias through a little girl, as a matter of fact, it was the little girl who brought his head to her mother (Mark 6:21-28). John’s death was personal, it had nothing to do with enmity against God on the part of Herod, in fact, Herod respected John as a prophet of God and even listened to him gladly (Mark 6:20). The devil just ended his life easily. Jesus was persecuted and killed for our sakes, he died doing the will of God at the appropriate time (of course, he is risen); the other disciples and saints were martyred because of their fulfillment of God’s plan and their confession of Christ as Lord. John, on the other hand, was cut short because he meddled into another man’s business, he was killed because in the mind of Herodias, he wanted to spoil business for her and her marriage.
1 Peter 4:15 says,
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.”
This means that there is a reward for not minding one’s business. God said that He created the waster to destroy, but no weapon formed against you shall prosper (Isaiah 54:16-17), so you cannot go to confront the waster when he is only doing his job, that is not your business. It is only if God directs you to go, that you go, and in the absence of such directives, what is your business? The same goes for meddling into another man’s business, if the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead you to do so, why put yourself in unnecessary trouble? It is only when the enemy or the waster makes an attempt at you that you can now confront and even destroy them according to the word of the Lord and your right as a child of God.
Why would I start praying against all the witches and wizards flying at night, when they are only doing their job, what is my business, when I know that the Lord is with me as a mighty terrible one (Jeremiah 20:11)? I will pray and protect my family and loved ones from their attacks, but not to go disturbing them, when God has even given them the go ahead against the heathen. If I see in the Spirit that a pretty lady is not actually a human being, or a fake who’s just after wealth, what is my business? It is only when that same woman comes to entice me or any member of my family or loved ones that she would then be confronted and exposed, or if the Spirit leads me to that effect.
I recently read the story of a man in Ibadan, Nigeria who went and was praying for an established mad man on the streets and ended up at the right hand of the mad man. The report said he just walked up to him and started praying, laying hands on him. After some time, he too ran mad, stripped himself naked and they both mad men lived happily ever after. I don’t know what happened, I was not there, but I sure would not go to any mad man just to test my faith and power; except God tells me to.
The summary of the whole matter is, when you go and do what God has not sent you to do, you are only deviating from His plan and looking for unnecessary trouble. Paul advised that we should not suffer as busybodies in other men’s matters, that is the gospel truth (apart from the fact that it is actually the gospel). It doesn’t make sense, like in the case of John, to be beheaded because you meddled into what wasn’t your concern. It is important that we start walking in the leading of the Holy Spirit, this way; we can never be misled or deceived by our judgments. We would know when to speak the truth and when to withdraw, we would know when to interfere and when to stand down. As many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).
The costs of meddling with other men’s businesses far outweigh the petty benefits.
Till next time, mind your business today.
Cheers and God bless you infinitely!!!
© 2013 Godsplan Uzoaga.