I read a phrase tonight that came across as a military directive: “Occupy till I come.”
Just those four words. But immediately I stood up a little bit taller. My ears perked, and I wondered at God’s meaning with this phrase. I felt like it was a challenge thrown at my feet.
How easy would it be to translate this into something that suits my needs? For all of my days I could twist this into something simple, lazy, chipper, bold, brash, and maybe some days not at all Christ-like.
Phrases like, “Live it up,” or, “You only live once,” pop in my mind. We could modernize it and give it a nickname. “Sup? OTIC. I’m doin’ it.” Naturally when it’s come to this, it’s come to failure. Pretty sure God intended something powerful when he breathed out, “occupy till I come.”
Just before this phrase appears in the book of Matthew, Zacchaeus is the butt end of the gossip train, and Jesus is at the center of what everyone perceives is a scandal.
There’s gasping and chest heaving and dinner. Which seems totally out of place, but Jesus invites himself to dinner with a true shady character, and of course the shady character accepts, and then believes Jesus, and his whole household is saved forever. And do you know why? Because first Jesus was occupying until it was time, and then Zacchaeus and his entire family realized what it meant to, “occupy till I come.” First they stood a little bit taller, and then their ears perked up. Suddenly they were hooked.
They watched as Jesus came to be about the Father’s business. They took in his actions: He lived to win souls by loving for real. Man, that’s just better than any Kool-Aid out there. It’s such a small sentence and a huge summons all at the same time.
“Occupy till I come” means you take what you have been dealt, handed, blessed with, and you do any and everything God asks.
Say hello to that person. Take food to that family. Invite that girl over for dinner. Pay for that woman to go to retreat. Compliment that guy on his work. Hug it out with that co-worker and tell them Jesus was and is and is to come. Stop and pray with that neighbor. Babysit that young mamma’s kids. The list is unending.
All Jesus did was invite himself to dinner. What a rude gus. He didn’t even wait to be invited. He couldn’t. He was too busy occupying.