Saturday, October 13, 2018

Occupy Till I Come / Guard and Grow

11:  While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 
12: So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 
13: And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ 
14: But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 
15: When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. 
16: The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ 
17: And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 
18: The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ 
19: And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 
20: Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 
21: for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ 
22: He *said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 
23: Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ 
24: Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’
25: And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ 
26: I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 
27: But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”
Luke 19:11-27

Jesus told this parable as they were getting close to entering Jerusalem. The disciples thought He was gong to establish his kingdom right then. However, Jesus knew He was going there to die and return to the Father. In an effort to explain this to them, He told the parable to show that He was going to go far away to receive His crown, but there would be a time period before He would come back and establish His kingdom on the earth. They were to "do business" with what He had entrusted them with until He returned.

In verse 13 Jesus said for them to "Do business with this until I come back." The King James Version says to "Occupy till I come." Some translations say to invest, to trade, put this money to work etc. Basically He's telling us to do business, or work with, what He has given us to do. Produce fruit in the land He's called you to--your field or garden--and continue to do this until He returns.

The serpent came to Eve in her garden in the beginning. He was here on the earth because it was his area of domain before he rebelled against God. So, if the devil was here on the earth back when Adam and Eve were placed in the garden, were the other demons that fell with him here too? Did God put man into a demon-infested earth? If so, why? If He did, I think it would be for them to learn how to rule. Man needed to know how to take dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28). If you are going to rule and have dominion, part of that means you will guard against anything that tries to take that away. They needed to learn how to use the authority of God to stand against the enemy. Of course they didn't and we have seen the consequence of that.

Years later, when Jesus came, He defeated the devil, taking back that which he took from man and returning those who believe in Him back to a position of authority in the earth as sons and daughters of God (Colossians 2:6-15). Now we need to learn how to "do business" until He comes again. We take authority over the enemy, boot him out of our garden land, and plant/build/do business/be fruitful with what the Lord has given us to work with.

Doing business until He comes doesn't mean for us to all become billionaires before He returns. God doesn't need us to make money for His kingdom. He owns the earth (Psalm 24:1). It means to continue to engage in what He's gifted us to do until He comes.

If money isn't the currency of the kingdom then what is? In order for us to engage in business or trade as He's called us to, we need to engage with other people. We all have gifts we're to develop in. Through relationships--family and business--we will strengthen each other, live fruitful lives, and help each other grow in our calling.

We're to "occupy" or maintain this business until He returns. We're not to be like the disciples, getting excited because it looks like the time for the kingdom to be established on earth is getting close. But we're to maintain, occupy, stay engaged in the business He's called us to. We have work to do now. We're still in the "occupying" time period.

"Father, we thank you for the opportunity to pray for Waterford and the surrounding area. We pray that Your people understand what it means to engage in business until You come. That we maintain,  don't slack off, fall asleep, or neglect what You've called us to, but stay engaged in the business/calling You've given us. We pray that Your people in this area wake up to that. That they are injected with encouragement so they continue in what You've called them. That they don't grow weary in well doing (Galatians 6:9). That they continue, maintain, and do business. Also, give them wisdom so they know how to be as fruitful as possible in what You've called them to.

"I pray that we also, as Your people, recognize and walk in the authority You've given us over the enemy. That we see both sides of this--to boot the enemy out of our land, and be fruitful and multiply in the land. We boot him out of the land, and walk in and occupy our land making it fruitful. Show Your people both sides of this. The land the enemy occupied is now fruitful for You. We're going to take land, mountains, systems, businesses, schools, governmental positions, arts, sciences, the institutions of the earth for Your kingdom. We take it and occupy it!

Wherever the soul of your foot treads is given to you. (Joshua 1:3).

"Lord, we've walked and received the land You've given us. This land is Your land and we receive it from You. We will not leave it vacant. We will work the land. We put it to work for You. We plant seed in this land so it bears fruit. We won't leave it empty for the enemy to come and try to take it back again. 

Check the borders. Inspect the fences. Maintain the borders and ensure the enemy is not infiltrating. Protect and guard the land--the field--God has entrusted to You! The Lord is giving us time and opportunity to see what we will do with what He's given us. We guard the borders and work the land!

Some may be good at working the land but not at booting the enemy out. They grow good fruit but its devoured by the enemy. Others may be good at booting the enemy out but don't know how to grow fruit, so they have the land but there 's nothing growing.  We need to do both--guard and grow, guard and grow.

Outside the protection of the city is "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:30). Stay within the borders that God has placed you, where He has called you. The ones who didn't want the Lord to rule over them didn't receive anything from Him and ended up being slain in His presence. We're under His authority. Remember that and stay under that. Work with what He's given to you to work with. Those in rebellion against the Lord will suffer the consequences of that one day.

He didn't tell them to address the rebellious ones, He just told them to do business until He returned. When you work the land He's called you to, you will be doing your part. Some will be drawn to the light. Join with those who have a similar calling--similar business. Lock hands with them and support each other. Whatever position--field--you're in, connect with those people around you, strengthen each other. Grow closer to the Lord, produce fruit.

How do you judge success? How do you know you are fruitful? In the end the Lord will judge our "success." He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant" to those who kept the business.

"Father, show us, each one of us, what our "business" is and what "success" looks like for us individually. Show us how You see success in what we're called to do. What do I have to do so I can hear "Well done" from You? I want to judge myself so I won't be judged by You and condemned with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:31-32).

"Father, put it upon the hearts of the people to seek You and ask You what You've called them to do and what it looks like for them to be successful in Your sight. So they know what they need to do to  hear "Well done" from You. So the enemy is not leading them off into deception. So they know that they can know Your will for them. You are not keeping it from them. Teach us how to properly judge ourselves, and to properly hear from You so we know exactly what You want us to do. Show us how to know when we've accomplished that.

"Father, thank You for Your grace, the grace of the Lord Jesus, which includes the empowerment of Your Spirit to succeed in what You've called us to. Keep those doing Your business on the straight and narrow path--the highway to holiness (Isaiah 35:8)--so they will succeed in "doing business" until You come.

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