"Occupy Till I Come"

Jesus exhorted His disciples in Luke 19:13 to “occupy” or “do business”—His business—until He returns (Jn. 14:1-3). The reality of that “Blessed Hope” is ever before us, and, therefore, we must not take this admonition lightly. Throughout the Scriptures, the believer is exhorted to ceaseless effort, energized by the Holy Spirit, in doing his Father’s will. Inactivity is dangerous, for our idle days are inevitably Satan’s busy days. The child of God who slumbers, spiritually speaking, as the night approaches fast when no man can work has forgotten the duty entailed in his calling as a servant of Jesus Christ. We are not to do as we please, but as the Savior commands.

The Lord’s special measure of grace was never given to loiterers. Moses was tending Jethro’s sheep when the Lord spoke to him from the burning bush and called him to deliver the Israelites from bondage. Gideon was busy threshing wheat by the winepress when commissioned to a higher service for his God. David was faithfully caring for his father’s flock when Samuel was led of the Spirit to anoint him future king of Israel. Saul was hastening along the road to Damascus in his zeal to execute his infamous mission when the Lord Jesus called him to both salvation and service.

God is ever seeking those who “[have] a mind to work” (Neh. 4:6), and today is certainly no exception. As we face the New Year, may we honestly evaluate not only our desire to please the Lord but also our level of effort actually expended in doing what we already know from the Word is pleasing to Him. Today we are to look on the fields which are white already to harvest; today we are to put on the whole armor of Christ so that we will be able to earnestly contend for the faith and stand against all the wiles of the devil; today we are to put our hands to the plow and seek to be faithful in performing the duty to which God has called each one of us.

Much work needs to be done today in the Father’s vineyard. Are we willing to say with heartfelt sincerity and anticipation, “Lord, what will You have me to do?” Can we also say with the apostle Paul, “I will very gladly spend and be spent…” in our Lord’s service? We all can and should be “fellowhelpers to the truth.” How? By our testimonies, our praise, our prayers, our gifts, and our selfless, separated service unto Him. A prosperous New Year lies ahead for all who thus purpose to get busy for God. This could be the day of our Lord’s return. If it is, may this last day be one that has been well spent.

— Pastor Dennis W. Costella (1948-2011)