Maranatha Media

Occupy Until I Come

Posted Mar 28, 2024 by Gil Castor in Christian Life Style
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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.’”

The soon coming of Jesus raises the question: what are we supposed to do until He comes?

A common problem among those who are thrilled about the coming of Jesus Christ, and have spent their talents in preparing themselves for the coming crisis, is they have ceased from doing the common and present duties in life. This is an extreme view which causes them to be disconnected from their fellow man and be forever in a state of emergency.

To be always Christ-centered, the focus must be upon Christ not on the Crisis.

Worldly people by default would always look at the problem rather than the solution, and oftentimes are drowned by the former. Christians can do the same – forever focused on the scheming of people in power and politics, they lose sense of the patient work of reconciling their fellow men to God – that He loves them and will never leave nor forsake them, and His character is made clear in the life of His Son.

What about Jesus?

Was he focused on the intrigues of the Roman Court, the scheming of Herod, the soon destruction of Jerusalem? He knew that it would not help to tell the people they were to be destroyed; their hope was to know God the Father aright – the only way to avoid destruction when it came.

JOHN  4:34        Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 

1 THESSALONIANS 5:1-4 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Thus the work must be to bring men out of darkness and into light, so that the day of destruction shall not overtake them as a thief. This is the “meat”, the spiritual food, that Jesus tells His shepherds to feed His flock with:

KJV Matthew 24:40-46
40 Then shall two be in the field; the *one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

The spiritual food that they need, “in due season”, will save them that they “shall be taken” and not left to destruction.

*"The one shall be taken." His name shall stand in the book of life, while those with whom he associated shall have the mark of eternal separation from God.--TM 234, 235 (1895).  {LDE 216.2}

The work to be done today is just as real, and the truth is just as much truth; only we are to give the message with as much more earnestness as the coming of the Lord is nearer. The message for this time is positive, simple, and of the deepest importance. We must act like men and women who believe it. Waiting, watching, working, praying, warning the world--this is our work. . . .  {Ev 219.3}

He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray.--SC 101 (1892).  {LDE 64.2} 

“Smiting his fellow servants”

But many who have stopped doing soul work and the duties of life, thinking that watching conspiracy videos and assuming that pointing out evil and heresy is all the work left to be done, soon are left wondering when Jesus still hasn’t come…and still hasn’t come. They don’t wonder if there is anything wrong with the message they preach, and blame the people in the world for not being clever enough to accept it. But is it they who are stubborn, or we who are stubborn? Could it be that we have not put our full effort into actually saving those outside, feeling ourselves satisfied where we are like Laodicea? Soon these believers become disillusioned and begin to act selfishly instead. And when a message comes that God is non-violent, just as Jesus is, they begin to attack the workers of that message:

Those who are "do-nothings" now will have the superscription upon them, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." They knew their Master's will, but did it not. They had the light of truth, they had every advantage, but chose their own selfish interests, and they will be left with those whom they did not try to save. "But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delayeth His coming; and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; the Lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for Him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  {TM 237.1} 

Well Rounded Christian Experience

We have need to have a well-rounded Christian experience. It should be driven from love and peace, not from fear and paranoia.

Christ says, “Occupy till I come” [Luke 19:13]. It may be but a few years until our life’s history shall close, but we must occupy till then.—The Review and Herald, April 21, 1896. LDE 76.2

Christ would have everyone educate himself to calmly contemplate His second appearing. All are to search the Word of God daily, but NOT NEGLECT PRESENT DUTIES .—Letter 28, 1897. LDE 76.3

Christ declared that when He comes some of His waiting people will be engaged in business transactions. Some will be sowing in the field, others reaping and gathering in the harvest, and others grinding at the mill. IT IS NOT GOD’S WILL THAT HIS ELECT SHALL ABANDON LIFE’S DUTIES and RESPONSIBILITIES and give themselves up TO IDLE CONTEMPLATION, LIVING IN A RELIGIOUS DREAM.—Ms 18a, 1901. LDE 76.4

Individual Responsibility and Our Own Specific Work

We each have our own work to be down in our sphere of influence. That work has certain requirements of character and certain tone to the message to be shared. So while respecting our elders and our fellow workers, we need to go to God directly and get instructions from Him for what needs to be done for our situation.

"Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household?" Can we answer? Am I the steward, faithful to the sacred trust which is committed to me? To every man is given an individual responsibility. The watchmen have their specific work to discern the approach of danger and sound the note of warning. The soldiers of the cross of Christ are to have ears keen to hear. In their position of responsibility they are to give the trumpet a certain sound, that everyone may gird on the armor for action.  {TM 236.1} 

Business Can Be Done Wrongly and Rightly

Wrongly:

When Lot warned the members of his family of the destruction of Sodom, they would not heed his words, but looked upon him as a fanatical enthusiast. The destruction that came found them unprepared. Thus it will be when Christ comes--farmers, merchants,lawyers, tradesmen, will be wholly engrossed in business, and upon them the day of the Lord will come as a snare.--RH March 10, 1904.  {LDE 232.4} 

When ministers, farmers, merchants, lawyers, great men and professedly good men shall cry, "Peace and safety," sudden destruction cometh. Luke reports the words of Christ, that the day of God comes as a snare--the figure of an animal prowling in the woods for prey, and lo, suddenly he is entrapped in the concealed snare of the fowler.--10MR 266 (1876).  {LDE 233.1} 

When men are at ease, full of amusement, absorbed in buying and selling, then the thief approaches with stealthy tread. So it will be at the coming of the Son of man.--Letter 21, 1897.  {LDE 233.2} 

While the MAN OF BUSINESS is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments—it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence: “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting” (Daniel 5:27).—The Great Controversy, 490, 491 (1911). LDE 230.4
 

Rightly:

Christ declared that when He comes some of His WAITING PEOPLE will be engaged in BUSINESS TRANSACTIONS. Some will be SOWING IN THE FIELD, others reaping and gathering in the harvest, and others grinding at the mill.-Ms 26, 1901. LDE 231.4

The BUSINESSMAN may conduct his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. If he is a true follower of Christ he will carry his religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the spirit of Christ. The MECHANIC may be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life among the hills of Galilee. Everyone who names the name of Christ should so work that others, by seeing his good works, may be led to glorify their Creator and Redeemer. {SC 82}
 

Let Us Crowd Good Works into the Time We Have

Crowd all the good works you possibly can into this life.—Testimonies for the Church 5:488 (1889) LDE 76.5

MATTHEW  5:16   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

Watching unto prayer, wondering is the faith we have where Jesus would have it be when He says this?

KJV Luke 18:8  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
 

What is our Motivation?

The shortness of time is frequently urged as an incentive for seeking righteousness and making Christ our friend. This should not be the great motive with us; for it savors of selfishness. Is it necessary that the terrors of the day of God should be held before us, that we may be compelled to right action through fear? It ought not to be so. Jesus is attractive. He is full of love, mercy, and compassion. He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He says to us, I am the Lord thy God; walk with Me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares. He will count them as His children, and finally give them an inheritance of more value than the empires of kings, a crown of glory richer than has ever decked the brow of the most exalted earthly monarch. LHU 98.3

If there is selfishness there, God knows:

“The eye of the Lord is upon all the work, all the plans, all the imaginings of every mind; He sees beneath the surface of things, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is not a deed of darkness, not a plan, not an imagination of the heart, not a thought of the mind, but that He reads it as an open book. Every act, every word, every motive, is faithfully chronicled in the records of the great Heart-searcher, who said, ‘I know thy works.’ – {LS 322.3}

Does Time Setting come from a place of selfishness?

Many who have called themselves Adventists have been time setters. Time after time has been set for Christ to come, but repeated failures have been the result. The definite time of our Lord’s coming is declared to be beyond the ken of mortals. Even the angels who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation know not the day nor the hour. “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Because the times repeatedly set have passed, the world is in a more decided state of unbelief than before in regard to the near advent of Christ. They look upon the failures of the time setters with disgust; and because men have been so deceived, they turn from the truth substantiated by the word of God that the end of all things is at hand. 4T 307.1

We think that time setting will bring men to Christ, but when He doesn’t come it pushes people to backslide and become reckless:

God gives no man a message that it will be five years or ten years or twenty years before this earth's history shall close. He would not give any living being an excuse for delaying the preparation for his appearing. He would have no one say, as did the unfaithful servant, “My Lord delayeth his coming;” for this leads to reckless neglect of the opportunities and privileges given to prepare us for that great day. (RH, November 27, 1900)

The exact time of the second coming of the Son of man is God's mystery. (DA 633)

NO TIME PROPHECY BEYOND 1844

I plainly stated at the Jackson camp meeting to these fanatical parties that they were doing the work of the adversary of souls; they were in darkness. They claimed to have great light that probation would close in October, 1884. I there stated in public that the Lord had been pleased to show me that there would be no definite time in the message given of God since 1844.--2SM 73 (1885).  {LDE 35.3} 

Our position has been one of waiting and watching, with no time-proclamation to intervene between the close of the prophetic periods in 1844 and the time of our Lord's coming.--10MR 270 (1888).  {LDE 36.1} 

The people will not have another message upon definite time. After this period of time [Revelation 10:4-6], reaching from 1842 to 1844, there can be no definite tracing of the prophetic time. The longest reckoning reaches to the autumn of 1844.--7BC 971 (1900).  {LDE 36.2}


Let us Use our Talents for God

The parable of the Talents. . . has a personal and individual application to every man, woman, and child possessed of the powers of reason. . . . When the master of the house called his servants he gave to every man his work. The whole family of God are included in the responsibility of using their Lord's goods. Every individual, from the lowliest and most obscure to the greatest and most exalted, is a moral agent endowed with abilities for which he is accountable to God. . . . The spiritual, mental, and physical ability, the influence, station, possessions, affections, sympathies, all are precious talents to be used in the cause of the Master for the salvation of souls for whom Christ died.  {HP 224.2} 

How few appreciate these blessings! How few seek to improve their talent and increase their usefulness in the world! The Master has given to every man his work. He has given to every man according to his ability, and his trust is in proportion to his capacity. . . . Let the businessman do his business in a way that will glorify his Master because of his fidelity. Let him carry his religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the spirit of Christ. Let the mechanic be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in the lowly walks of life in the cities of Judea. . . .  {HP 224.3} 

Those who have been blessed with superior talents should not depreciate the value of the services of those who are less gifted than themselves. The smallest trust is a trust from God. With the blessing of God, the one talent through diligent use will be doubled, and the two used in the service of Christ will be increased to four; and thus the humblest instrument may grow in power and usefulness.  {HP 224.4} 

The earnest purpose, the self-denying efforts, are all seen, appreciated, and accepted by the God of heaven. . . . Use your gift in meekness, in humility, in trusting faith, and wait till the day of reckoning, and you will have no cause for grief or shame.  {HP 224.5} 

 

"Get Ready, Get Ready, Get Ready"

     Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. Amos 4:12.  {Mar 98.1}

     Suppose that today Christ should appear in the clouds of heaven, who . . . would be ready to meet Him? Suppose we should be translated into the kingdom of heaven just as we are.

  1. Would we be prepared to unite with the saints of God, to live in harmony with the royal family, the children of the heavenly King? (READ EPHESIANS 3:14-15)
  2.  What preparation have you made for the judgment? (READ REV.14:12)
  3. Have you made your peace with God? ( READ ROM 5:1)
  4. Are you laboring together with God?
  5.  Are you seeking to help those around you, those in your home, those in your neighborhood, those with whom you come in contact that are not keeping the commandments of God?

 . . . Are we getting ready to meet the King? . . .

If it were possible for us to be admitted into heaven as we are, how many of us would be able to look upon God? How many of us have on the wedding-garment? How many of us are without spot or wrinkle or any such thing? How many of us are worthy to receive the crown of life? . . . Position does not make the man. It is Christ formed within that makes a man worthy of receiving the crown of life, that fadeth not away.  {Mar 98.3} 

 I was pointed to the remnant on the earth. The angel said to them, "Will ye shun the seven last plagues? . . . If so, ye must die that ye may live. Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye must have a greater preparation than ye now have. . . . Sacrifice all to God. Lay all upon His altar--self, property, and all, a living sacrifice. It will take all to enter glory."  {Mar 98.4} 

Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. . . . While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ's followers will rejoice. . . . To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. . . . Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.  {Mar 98.5} 

 If you are right with God today, you are ready if Christ should come today.  {Mar 98.6} 

Let us Not Forget Prayer

The season of distress and anguish before us will require a faith that can endure weariness, delay, and hunger--a faith that will not faint though severely tried. The period of probation is granted to all to prepare for that time. Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. His victory is an evidence of the power of importunate prayer. All who will lay hold of God's promises, as he did, and be as earnest and persevering as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. Those who are unwilling to deny self, to agonize before God, to pray long and earnestly for His blessing, will not obtain it. Wrestling with God--how few know what it is! How few have ever had their souls drawn out after God with intensity of desire until every power is on the stretch. When waves of despair which no language can express sweep over the suppliant, how few cling with unyielding faith to the promises of God. {GC 621.2} 

THE OUTPOURING OF CHRIST’S SPIRIT WITHOUT MIXTURE AND THE CLOSE OF PROBATION

  The Promise of the Latter Rain

We may have had a measure of the Spirit of God, but by prayer and faith we are continually to seek more of the Spirit. It will never do to cease our efforts. If we do not progress, if we do not place ourselves in an attitude to receive both the former and the latter rain, we shall lose our souls, and the responsibility will lie at our own door. . . .  {LDE 187.3}

The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God's appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.--TM 508 (1897).  {LDE 188.1}

 The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was "the former rain," and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.--8T 21 (1904).  {LDE 185.5} 

We Should Pray Earnestly for the Descent of the Holy Spirit

 We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the Day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today.--5T 158 (1882).  {LDE 188.3}

The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the church is looked forward to as in the future, but it is the privilege of the church to have it now. Seek for it, pray for it, believe for it. We must have it, and Heaven is waiting to bestow it. {LDE 188.4}

The measure of the Holy Spirit we receive will be proportioned to the measure of our desire and the faith exercised for it, and the use we shall make of the light and knowledge that shall be given to us.--RH May 5, 1896.  {LDE 188.5} 

We are not willing enough to trouble the Lord with our petitions, and to ask Him for the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Lord wants us to trouble Him in this matter. He wants us to press our petitions to the throne.--FE 537 (1909).  {LDE 188.6}

Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.  {TM 507.1} 

Lastly, Let Us Be Faithful in Our Household

There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master's will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.  {5T 213.2} 

MATTHEW 5:16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

If we are courteous and gentle at home, we shall carry the savor of a pleasant disposition when away from home. If we manifest forbearance, patience, meekness, and fortitude in the home, we shall be able to be a light to the world.  {AH 429.1}