Amazing commentary on a much quoted phrase. Jack has such a clarity and grounded way of explaining God’s truth!
Remember, the darker it gets, the brighter and farther our little light shines!
Maranatha, Lord come quickly!
Occupy Until I Come
By Jack Kelley
Some of you are aware that I post a “Question of the Day” on Face Book each day. Recently one of these questions received more comments than any other we’ve ever posted by a wide margin.
It concerned a woman’s frustration because in a recent conversation her friends confirmed that they believe in an any moment Rapture but then went on to tell her their plans for the next 10-20 years, what they expect to do when they retire, what kind of career they hope their children will have, and how they can’t wait to have grandchildren. She felt like they were just paying lip service to the nearness of the Rapture and were more focused on their long term hopes and plans for this world.
I agreed with her, saying that what people pay attention to in their lives gives you a clue as to what their intentions are for their life. When people spend more time talking about their long range plans for their life in this world than they do about their longing for the Lord to return for the church and what they’re doing for Him while they wait, it tells us they intend to be here for a long time.
The comments I received in response to this posting were all over the place. A few agreed with the questioner, but most thought there is nothing wrong with making long term plans for our lives because we can’t know for sure when He’s coming. And more than one person said, “We can’t just abandon our lives and go camp on a hill waiting for Him.”
Several quoted the phrase “Occupy until I come” from the Parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27) as their justification for making long term worldly plans, but I wonder how many of us realize the context in which the Lord said this.
In the parable, a man of noble birth was going on an extended trip and was leaving his servants in charge of a portion of his wealth saying, “Occupy till I come.”
As you know a parable is a heavenly story put into an earthly context where every character is fictional and represents an actual one. In the Parable of the Ten Minas the man of noble birth represents Jesus, and His servants represent us.
The Greek word translated “occupy” in the King James translation of Luke 19:13 can mean to be occupied in anything, but in the context of the parable it means to “carry on a business.” In place of “occupy till I come” some English translations have the nobleman saying, “Put this money to work until I come back.” Others say, “Engage in business with this until I return.”
While there are a number of ways in which different translations convey this idea, I didn’t find a single one that indicated the nobleman was just telling his servants to idly wait for him as in “camping on a hill.” Nor did I find one that had the nobleman telling them to do whatever they wanted while he was gone. They all conveyed the idea that he expected them to conduct his business on his behalf using the resources he was leaving with them.
Therefore, the phrase “Occupy until I come” doesn’t mean we’re free to live our life according to whatever priorities we’ve established while we wait for the Rapture. It means we’re to be occupied in the work He’s given us until He returns, and have something to show for it. The fact that the nobleman criticized the servant who preserved the money he’d been given but didn’t increase it at all lends credence to this interpretation. He expected a return on his capital.
What Work Has He Given Us?
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1).
Romans 12:1-2 could be called Paul’s interpretation of the phrase “Occupy until I come.” I say that because the Greek word translated “worship” in Romans 12:1 is not the one that would normally be used. In fact, it actually means “service” and that’s the way many translations render it. The King James translation calls it our “reasonable service”. In Romans 12:1 Paul urged us to offer ourselves to God to perform whatever service He has in mind for us as our response to the mercy He has shown us. And how are we supposed to know what that is? Verse 2 gives us the answer. (more…)
Read Full Post »