The Believer’s Daily Occupation
T. Holliday, Ottawa, Canada
There is much gained by "reading" the Scriptures, although with many this is sadly neglected. There is greater gain by "meditating" in the Scriptures, but this is a lost art amongst Christians today. Together with reading and meditating, the greatest gain is assured by being "occupied" with the Scriptures. To help the reader grasp what is in mind in using the word "occupation", we may refer to five quotations:
(i) Joseph said to his brethren, "when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? that ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now", Gen. 46. 33-34. These men were true to their occupation, (ii) The psalmist wrote, "My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made (or, my occupation) touching the king", Psa. 45. 1. This man was in an ecstasy with his occupation, (iii) The third question that the mariners asked Jonah, the runaway prophet, was "What is thine occupation?", Jonah 1. 8. Jonah was false to his occupation, and consequently he brought trouble upon himself and others also. Today, if we are not true to our occupation, we become a source of trouble, (iv) As a boy of twelve years of age, the Lord Jesus Christ said to His parents, "Why is it that ye have sought me? did ye not know that I ought to be occupied in my Father's business?", Luke 2. 49 j.n.d. Finally, (v) Paul wrote to Timothy, "Occupy thyself with these things; be wholly in them", 1 Tim. 4. 15 J.n.d., namely "these things" were to be as a business. The nobleman said to his servants,, "Occupy (or trade) till I come", Luke 19. 13.
With these thoughts before us, we may now consider some of the features of our daily occupation, as found in order throughout the Scriptures :
Daily - Gathering spiritual food, Exod. 16. 5; Matt. 6. 11.
Daily - Offering a sacrifice to God, Exod. 29. 38, 42.
Daily - Performing our vows, Psa. 61. 8.
Daily - Watching at wisdom's gate, Prov. 8. 34; Isa. 50. 4.
Daily - Prayer and thanksgiving, Dan. 6. 10.
Daily - Taking up our cross, Luke 9. 23.
Daily - Continuing with one accord, Acts 2. 46.
Daily - Ministering to those in need, Acts 6. 1.
Daily - Searching the Scriptures, Acts 17. 11.
Daily - Encouraging one another, Heb. 3. 13. This tenfold daily occupation is like the instrument with ten strings, Psa. 33. 2; 92. 3; 144. 9. Each string as it is touched reverberates with the sweetest praise to God.
We begin with the manna (daily sufficiency) speaking of Christ. Since He was once humbled here, what a spirit this would give us as we start each day. The words "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus", Phil. 2. 5, would ring in our hearts, causing our spirits to be humble.
With adoring hearts would we offer to God the morning and evening lamb - the burnt offering speaking of Christ. As coming into the world, He said, "Lo, I come... to do thy will, O God", Heb. 10. 7; as passing through the world, He said, "I do always those things that please Him", John 8. 29, and as leaving the world, He said, "not as I will, but as thou wilt", Matt. 26. 39. Thus we would move on the line of God's will. What pleasure would the Father have in seeing us perform our vows - dedicating something to God; presenting ourselves, our bodies and all that we have to God; proving what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
For such a course, wisdom will be necessary, so how blessed to be found in the attitude that watches at wisdom's gate. Wisdom is divine resource. It is a very comprehensive word (there are about twelve different words for it in the original); it is never baffled, and has the answer to every problem. This necessitates the spirit of a learner, or one instructed. In Isaiah 50, the Lord is presented as the instructed One obtaining the word from God morning by morning.
This would lead us to prayer and thanksgiving, as in Daniel 6. 10. Here we find the proper perspective that should mark the soul in a day of ruin - Daniel prayed three times a day with his window open toward Jerusalem, a city representing God's unchanging thoughts for His people.
We must fully recognize the breakdown of all things in the world, therein to accept the place of reproach; we therefore take up our cross daily to follow Him as the rejected One.
We would realize that there are also others moving along this same line, namely with one accord. With everything of the first man excluded, there would be the daily continuance with one accord so that the features of Christ may be livingly displayed in the assembly.
There would thus be the mutual care one for another, as love would prevail among the saints, and this would be expressed not in work only but in deed and in truth.
We would be so bound up together, representing God practically in all our ways, that our vision would be enlarged so that there would be the searching of the Scriptures. There would be a great desire in all the saints to know the full extent of the vast inheritance of God - breadth, length, depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.
Finally, we would realize how indispensable we are the one to the other, ever seeking each other's good and encouraging one another. We would continually pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
As this is our daily occupation, there would be a living representation of Christ seen in His people, so the word of the psalmist would be fulfilled in a moral way, "And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised", Psa. 72. 15. Nor would results for the Lord's people be lacking, "There shall be an handful (abundance) of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth", v. 16.
The carrying out of our daily occupation, both personally and in our households, will mean great enrichment in spiritual things both as individuals and collectively. The conditions in local assemblies will be more pleasurable to God; the service of praise will increase in volume; blessing will flow to those around.
Our daily occupation will serve as a divine antidote to the increasing evils provided by the radio., television and other forms of earthly and Babylonish entertainment: "Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts", Heb. 3. 15.
Thy Name must live whatever names may die, Thy Name must fill all earth as heav'n on high;
Jesus, Thy Name by all shall yet be known, All kings and nations shall Thy greatness own.