"Occupy Till I Come"
By Lois J. Stucky
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Our Lord’s mission thus expressed by Himself is a most marvelous one that thankfully included seeking and saving you and me! And it included Zaccheus, who had encountered the One who came to seek and to save him. The above statement of the Lord was addressed to those who witnessed the salvation of this chief of publicans.
It appears that it was to those who heard His conversation with Zaccheus that Jesus shared the parable we find in the verses following – Luke 19:11-27. One translation entitles this section, "While We Wait," perhaps because verse 11 tells us that as Jesus was near to Jerusalem, some were expecting the kingdom of God to appear immediately and He had instruction to give about this. The parable tells of a nobleman who went away but who gave his servants the means to do business while he was away. The nobleman instructed his servants, "Occupy till I come." They were not to be idle but to be using what He gave them to do business for him. There are various interpretations of this parable, but for now let us think of the nobleman representing our Lord who is away from us at the present and we are His servants and handmaidens who have received spiritual riches from Him. We are to be occupied with His business, carrying on His mission, seeking to bring in those who are lost, building up His kingdom, expecting His return and preparing for it.
In these days of many and varied interests and activities, we need to ask ourselves if we are keeping right priorities along this line. Elsewhere Jesus warned that the "cares and riches and pleasures of this life" can choke out the good fruit that should be brought forth (Luke 8:14). If we are not watchful, cares and pleasures will consume what could be invested in our Master’s business. Time and opportunity are two very valuable things given to us by God which slip through careless fingers very easily and are lost forever for eternal purposes. God has not opened the door for many of us to stand behind a pulpit and preach or teach the Gospel in a formal way, but that does not excuse us from guarding our lives against things that would hinder our carrying forward our Lord’s mission. In the home, on the farm, in the business, industry and education world, in the medical field, in the military service, even if residing in a retirement or nursing facility – we can be alert and eager to be about our "Father’s business," seeking precious and eternal gain for Him with such as He has given us.
May I share with you briefly about a Herald reader who set a good example of this? Around 1970 Herald of His Coming began receiving letters and financial support from a young man in the military service of his country. We gleaned from his letters that here was one who openly served his Lord Jesus at the same time he was serving his country. While in Vietnam, he had with him a Bible and a Matthew Henry’s commentary, and he spent as much time as he could with these good companions. After completing his term in the U.S. Army, the young man, Jerry, returned to his home state of Oklahoma, a noticeably stronger Christian than ever before. Eventually he became involved in the business of selling computer software. But heavenly business involved him extensively also. Beginning at home, he was a key to his brother’s coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. For years Jerry led a family Bible study on Friday nights, and was a spiritual leader of the family. He introduced them to Herald of His Coming. As the hope for revival burned in their hearts, several of the family came to be financial supporters of Herald of His Coming as Jerry was, and they continue to be partners in the Herald’s revival and soul-saving ministry.
Jerry’s great joy was to tell others the Good News. Beating in his heart there was an urgency that souls who were lost come to Jesus before it was too late. Someone spoke of Jerry as a missionary to the "9 to 5 world," the business, workaday world, where the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. He was ever ready to share a Scripture or Christian literature, or a prayer as the Holy Spirit led, with business associates, as well as with neighbors and friends. He also ministered in correctional facilities. In time, his zeal for the Lord led him to establish The Lion of Judah Ministry, through which he purchased and freely distributed books on Christian topics such as salvation, healing, faith and the like. His support was given also to missionary causes that took the Gospel to distant places. He was Jesus’ touch on many lives.
In early summer of 2005, Jerry was called above at the early age of 54. Even while confined to bed in his last days on earth, he was about His Father’s business. Can you not imagine the "Well done" that welcomed Jerry to His eternal home! With Jerry’s overflowing heart of love for God and his passion for souls, he no doubt had zealous plans for his years ahead, but they were not to be allotted to him here below. What comfort it must have been to him to know that his days, though fewer than he had hoped, had been profitably invested for his beloved Master in sowing God’s Word of Life and giving to the hungry the Bread of Life – Jesus! The influence and impact of such a life can be measured only by God. Might God birth in our hearts what He did in Jerry’s, so that He might receive ten-fold gain from our lives.
May We Be of Service to You?
May we be of help to you in increasing your outreach for the Master by sending you a package of "Right Choice" Salvation heralds? To help you grasp the opportunities that can come and go so quickly, you may want to keep a few copies handy in your home, to give to business people or visitors who come to your door. We will also supply a larger number of copies, as the Lord enables, if you are led to go door-to-door in your community. You might carry a few copies in your car (keeping them under cover so the sunlight will not discolor them). What might seem a "chance meeting" as you go about on your errands could be God’s appointment to give His Word to a hungry heart He has prepared to welcome such a message, or to one He wants to give one last, loving opportunity to respond to His call before it is forever too late!
"Time…Is Growing Shorter!"
A dear sister in Alabama, also much engaged in Heaven’s business, wrote recently:
"‘How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that sayeth unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!’ (Isa. 52:7). Hallelujah!
"Enclosed is an offering to help "publish" this glorious Gospel. I also need some more "Right Choice" Salvation heralds. I could use 500 copies if you could spare that many. Please know that I am very careful and prayerful with their distribution. Besides giving them to the young people at the Juvenile Detention Center [where she ministers], I am also putting some of them out door-to-door. So many people will not go to church, but if we take the Gospel to them they cannot say they did not hear.
"Our time to spread this Gospel is growing shorter! It seems the very earth is in birth pangs, and they are growing closer together and coming with greater intensity! ‘Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?...’ (Isa. 66:8). (Resurrection and rapture perhaps.) Praise God! Maranatha!"
Our sister has long given great priority to serving the Master, but as she discerns, time is growing shorter! There needs to be greater urgency in our spirits! "Maranatha!" she exclaims – "the Lord comes!" Some of us may need to be jolted awake to the great possibility that our Lord may come sooner than we expect. Some of us may need to put away things that are trinkets compared to the treasure of souls brought to Jesus. Some of us may need to seek the Lord for a greater burden and love for the lost and for holy boldness to give the Gospel, not fearing the reaction, and then to redouble our efforts to reach them for Jesus.
We pray that this issue of Herald of His Coming with its messages about the coming again of our Lord Jesus Christ, will be the Lord’s awakening voice calling many to "Be ready" as our Lord told us to be (Matt. 24:44). And might this issue instill a fresh urgency in us concerning those all around who need to lovingly and clearly be given the Gospel of our blessed Christ who came to seek and to save the lost!