By SHARON K. GILBERT
The Main Stream Media (MSM) has been playing up the ‘occupy movement’ since it began last year. The first occupy protest began with ‘Occupy Wall Street’, and it’s ballooned into ‘occupy everything’ since. Orchestrated by two folks from Adbusters (an anti-consumerist publication), and it was promoted early on by the hacktivist collective Anonymous, a self-appointed cadre of watchdogs made famous through their support of Julian Assange. Anonymous demonstrators wear the Guy Fawkes mask associated with the film ‘V for Vendetta’. Personally, this ‘occupy movement’ is little more than a reboot of the 1960s protests against war, injustice, and the American Way.
This afternoon, while discussing the day’s news items, Derek and I came around to the current version of the occupy repeating meme, and I suddenly recalled a scripture that every Christian should memorize. I’ll credit the Holy Spirit with bringing this passage to my remembrance–for I’m anything but prone to recollection these days!–but the connection seems profound.
Here’s the passage from Luke 19:11-28 [bold emphasis mine]
And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.
He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this [man] to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
And another came, saying, Lord, behold, [here is] thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, [thou] wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give [it] to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me.
And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem.
Matthew chapter 25 also records this parable, but we get more information there, including the context. Matthew tells us that Jesus has just told off a bunch of Pharisees, calling them a generation of vipers! Rather than serving and edifying God’s people, these Pharisees burdened them with ridiculous laws not found in the Torah, acting more like greedy merchants than teachers.
Shortly after the encounter with the Pharisees, Christ leads his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which even at that time was an ancient graveyard. Sitting amongst this unclean fellowship of the dead, Jesus is asked for a sign that would foretell His coming and the timing of the end of the world (age). He answers his followers’ question through parables. (Note that in Luke, He tells the parable because his disciples clearly did not understand about the Kingdom).
First, Jesus lists horrific signs and events to come–signs that would portend His return and the establishment of His Kingdom. He employs parables to explain how men and women will behave while waiting for Him. He talks about the ‘goodman of the house’ and the good versus evil servant.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. (Matt. 24:45-47)
In Matthew 25, Christ (still teaching while on the Mount of Olives), tells his disciples the parables of the wise and foolish virgins and also the story of the man who travels to a far country (which corresponds to Luke’s account above). Here the distribution is more precise. One servant receives 5 ‘talents’ (a measure of silver–called ‘pounds’ in Luke. At that time, one talent of silver weighed 100 pounds!) Another receives two, and another one talent. As with Luke’s account, we see that the first two servants used these resources well and faithfully, but the third hid it (a light hidden under a bushel cannot shine). This unfaithful servant is relieved of his single talent of silver and is cast into outer darkness! Jesus follows this with the parable of the sheep and the goats–another version of separating faithful from unfaithful servants. The goats are sent into everlasting fire! It’s believed by most Bible scholars that the sheep/goats scenario will be one of the first events to follow the physical return of King Jesus to earth, so these are Tribulation Saints (sheep) and imposters (goats). The sheep (humans in mortal form) will re-populate the kingdom during Christ’s Millennial reign.
Since Christ has not physically returned yet, we await the calling of the virgins by the Bridegroom, so we will not be counted among the sheep/goat number. We will already be in our eternal form by then (assuming that we are wise virgins). However, the admonition to serve while waiting applies to all believers! As members of the body of Christ, we are His representatives, his stewards–and we have been given spiritual gifts to help us–each one of us–to perform his or her job. We are to use the spiritual gifts to OCCUPY the kingdom until Christ calls us.
The Greek word translated as ‘occupy’ is pragmateuomai, which conveys a legal sense of engaging in a business. We are spiritual VPs. Some of us are VP of marketing, others of music, others of preaching, others of ‘watching’. You might also say we are Viceroys (second only to the king)–each with our specific areas of expertise; each one directed to occupy a different aspect of kingdom management. The language denotes action.
Are you occupying your sphere(s) of influence using your spiritual gifts? Are you sharing Christ and making disciples? Women, are you teaching the young girls what it means to be a Christian in a fallen world? Are you demonstrating a gentle spirit? Men, are you lifting up Christ as you go about your day? Do you love your wife as Christ loves His church?
Physically, we walk in a world that hates Christ, but spiritually, we stride as princes and princesses who legally represent our King to come!
It’s clear from the parables that some of those entrusted with the command to ‘occupy’ failed in their duties. Christ truly loves us–enough to provide our salvation through His sacrifice, a gift paid for by His blood. While we await our Bridegroom, we must use this time to share His love with others.
So I say to you: Let us Occupy the Kingdom! Let us lift up Christ daily as often as we may, using whatever resources the Lord has given us, and this includes the internet! And may He find us faithful virgins when He returns for His Bride.
Even so come, Lord Jesus!