And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. -Luke 19:13
As we continue the parable we started reading in part 2, we see how each servant exercised the practice of occupying.
Luke 19:15-24 (KJV) tells us that when the nobleman returned to gather his investments and see how three servants took care of his business while he was away, here is what he finds:
Servant number one was given ten pounds and doubled it. The nobleman was pleased (verses 16-17).
A second servant was given ten pounds and increased it by half. The nobleman was pleased (verses 18-19).
However, a third servant who was given ten pounds had not increased or decreased the silver. The nobleman was very unhappy with this. The servant’s logical, yet demeaning, reasoning as to why he had done nothing with it made matters worse, and he paid a high penalty for it (verses 20-24).
As a reminder, all three servants had the same instructions and opportunities, but each had different outcomes.
To whom can we compare these servants in our present day?
I consider the servant who doubles their investment like the person who surrenders their life work to the Lord. Using their time, talents, and treasure for the building of the kingdom of God and serving the mission of Jesus, they are good stewards of the resources God entrusts to them.
The second servant who increased the silver is the person who has gone through life doing lots of things in the vein of busyness; however, they aren’t fully productive for the kingdom. However, like Zacchaeus, somewhere along the journey they are reminded of their eternal mission and purpose to advance the kingdom of heaven by building ministries and marketplace disciples–Like Zacchaeus!
The final servant who didn’t invest at all is like the person who has been given time, talent, and treasure to advance the kingdom, yet they chose to remain idle, comfortable, and unfruitful. Their gifts are used for personal advancement, growth, or lifestyle preferences. They allow fear, anxiousness, false beliefs, and other factors (see verse 21) to hinder their obedience to the master, ultimately having nothing to show for the resources and gifts they were given to occupy.
To occupy is to take what you have been given by the master and multiply it for His glory. Your gifts, talents, and abilities can be used in the marketplace or the ministry to serve Him if you surrender them.
I wondered why Jesus shared the story of the parable right after the encounter with Zacchaeus, and I believe one of the many reasons is to show us that occupying won’t always require us to change our occupation, but it always requires us to change our outlook. If we don’t, we will end up just like the third servant. It’s not too late to start occupying, so let’s begin today!