Are You Responding In Faith Or In Fear To The Challenges We Face?
At this time Jesus was getting close to entering Jerusalem. The crowds that followed him were convinced that God’s kingdom realm would fully manifest when Jesus established it in Jerusalem. So he told them this story to change their perspective: “Once there was a wealthy prince who left his province to travel to a distant land, where he would be crowned king and then return. Before he departed he summoned his ten servants together and said, ‘I am entrusting each of you with fifty thousand dollars to trade with while I am away. Invest it and put the money to work until I return.’ “Some of his countrymen despised the prince and sent a delegation after him to declare before the royals, ‘We refuse to let this man rule over us! He will not be our king!’ “Nevertheless, he was crowned king and returned to his land. Then he summoned his ten servants to see how much each one had earned and what their profits came to. “The first one came forward and said, ‘Master, I took what you gave me and invested it, and it multiplied ten times.’ “‘Splendid! You have done well, my excellent servant. Because you have shown that you can be trusted in this small matter, I now grant you authority to rule over ten fortress cities.’ “The second came and said, ‘Master, what you left with me has multiplied five times.’ “His master said, ‘I also grant you authority in my kingdom over five fortress cities.’ “Another came before the king and said, ‘Master, here is the money you entrusted to me. I hid it for safekeeping. You see, I live in fear of you, for everyone knows you are a strict master and impossible to please. You push us for a high return on all that you own, and you always want to gain from someone else’s efforts.’ “The king said, ‘You wicked servant! I will judge you using your own words. If what you said about me is true, that I am a harsh man, pushing you for a high return and wanting gain from others’ efforts, why didn’t you at least put my money in the bank to earn some interest on what I entrusted to you?’ “The king said to his other servants, ‘Take the money he has and give it to the faithful servant who multiplied my money ten times over.’ “‘But master,’ the other servants objected, ‘why give it to him? He already has so much!’ “‘Yes,’ replied the king. ‘But to all who have been faithful, even more will be given them. And for the ones who have nothing, even the little they seem to have will be taken from them (Luke 19:11-26 - (TPT).
The disciples thought that Jesus would bring His kingdom to earth immediately when they arrived in Jerusalem. Jesus tempered their thinking by telling them a story about a man who left some money with those who worked for him and who expected those who worked for him to stay busy until he returned.
The King James version of Luke 19:13 reads: And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. That word OCCUPY came to me as I was praying this morning. The Greek word for occupy means to busy oneself with, i.e. to trade: occupy; to be occupied in anything; to carry on a business to carry on the business of a banker or a trader.
The idea conveyed by the wealthy prince to his workers in the parable Jesus told here was to stay busy being fruitful even if he was delayed in coming back. The prince gave them money and expected a return on it when he came back.
What was Jesus emphasizing in the parable? He was saying to His disciples and to us that we should not change course or stop what we are called to do for any reason. We are to occupy. We are to stay busy with what Jesus has called us to do.
In these days of surrounding and surmounting challenges, God wants our response to be one of active and bold faith in His Word! As the world heads towards war, instability, lawlessness, godlessness, and finally judgment, we must keep our focus on the kingdom of God, and we must keep on doing what He has called us to do!
We have a mission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to and make disciples of all nations. That mission does not change just because things become more difficult.
Jesus did not tell us to withdraw, isolate, and self-protect until He comes. He said OCCUPY, that is, keep busy with the talents I gave us to use to minister to the world around us until He comes!
This past year was quite telling. So many believers chose self-protection and fear over active faith. Many churches are still not open. Many believers, once useful in helping reach their community for Jesus and helping their local church with their mission of ministering to people, are still locked away, waiting for an unseen virus enemy to disappear.
It just makes me wonder what the response will be when another virus shows up, or when the government turns hostile to Christians and churches. Do we stop obeying the words of Jesus just because a current crisis arises? Do we stop reaching out in our local churches to our community just because the government turns hostile? Things much worse than what we have yet experienced are on the horizon of time.
Forget what life was like prior to last year. The world is changing. The flesh is rising. Opposition is God and the gospel is increasing. And we still have a mission and a message from Jesus for our world.
I want to encourage you to resist the spirit of fear that has grasped the world in its clutches, and get busy doing what Jesus has called you to do. It will never be convenient or easy. It will take bold faith. But one day, when we stand before Jesus to answer for the mission He has called us to, we will be glad we chose to occupy, to stay busy with His call and will while the world shuts down. Listen to His voice. And, obey!