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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Is Your Occupation?

  As a young mother I had my times when I had to sit before a receptionist at the hospital with a sick baby on my lap and answer questions before they treated him.  In the early years I remember them saying, "Do you work?" 
  "Well, yes at least 16 hours per day and sometimes more--like tonight." 
   I would get two responses usually, the head would go down with a slight smile of amusement or the cold glare of "come one now, let's answer this the way you should" and then it would be rephrased, "I mean, do you have a job?"
  "Yes, I'm a full time homemaker."
   That was carefully worded so they couldn't say, "Then you don't work."  That point had been established in the first question.
   Now the question is, "Do you work outside the home?"  Much better put.  But they still don't use the answer that I wish they would use--"What is your occupation?"

  That would be in interesting question to use if for one day people had to be completely honest.  It really got me to asking myself that question.  I would answer "I'm a keeper at home, or I'm a homemaker." but then I have to think about if I'm am truly occupying myself during the working day as a homemaker or keeper at home.
   I first looked up the words "occupation" and "vocation" in the word of God and found their definitions.  I also looked up the word where Paul told us to "occupy till he came".  I think the context there is "keep on doing what you're supposed to be doing faithfully till the Lord returns." 
   In Genesis 46 and 47 the occupation of Joseph's family was being discussed. Joseph had instructions for them on how to answer Pharoah in what their "occupation" was.  That word meant:
1. deed, work
    a) deed, thing done, act

    b) work, labour

    c) business, pursuit

    d) undertaking, enterprise

    e) achievement

    f) deeds, works (of deliverance and judgment)

    g) work, thing made

    h) work (of God)

   i) product

  You can see there that this was a work, business that had something made out of it or a product. It was a deed with a purpose. 
   When Jonah was asked what his occupation was the definition was slightly different.  His was a question involving more of a product itself or who had commissioned the work to him.  They were more interested with why he was one their boat and what he was headed to do that might be bringing on them what they were experiencing the terrors they were going through.
1) occupation, work, business
   a) occupation, business
   b ) property
   c) work (something done or made)
   d) workmanship
   e) service, use
   f) public business
   1) political
   2) religious

  Aquilla and Priscilla were involved in a certain trade.  When Paul lived with them he was able to earn some money because they were of the same trade or occupation.  That was the trade of the tentmaker.  That word occupation simply means "of the plastic art, or trade".  (Acts 18:3)
   Later, in Acts 19:25 men are having losses to their occupation because of people becoming Christians.  That word simply means "such as this".  It could be used by gamblers, people who sell Satanic items, liquor dealers, etc.  People who would be in an occupation "such as this" would take a loss if we had revival.  This happened to be silversmith who was losing business in making false gods.
   Now that takes me back to my occupation, or may I say in a broader sense what should the occupation of a godly woman be.  Webster's1828  dictionary lists occupation as "That which engages the time and attention; employment; business." or "The principal business of one's life; vocation;  calling; trade; the business which a man follows to procure a living or obtain wealth."
   This causes me to think about what occupies my time and attention and what is the product I desire to produce at the end of my life, what is the calling I have from God to spend the time He's given me?  They are sobering questions. 
  "What a terrible thing to have to answer, (If we had to tell the complete truth to the Lord.) "The thing that consumes most of my time is books, the tv, the internet, games, shuttling my kids to the babysitters so we can make money and have everything our neighbors have, working for another master who has a different goal for me than You have." 
  This thought is for me the "keeper at home" just as much as the "working mother" or the "aged woman".  Am I carrying out the occupation and vocation that God wants me doing that I will produce the product He wants to see at the end of my life?
   Proverbs 31:10-31 is the role model the Lord gave me for how He wants me to "occupy my time".  It's beena 37 year pursuit for me and I still have much to develop.  

   Let's look at what consumed my role model's time.
   *She spent time making sure her husband didn't need being spoiled (shamed) by what she did with her time.  I can think of a man walking into a home that has obviously been neglected-it spoils him and shames him.  I can think of a man finding out his wife has used up too much money out of the checkbook.  It spoils him.  He wants everyone to think good of him because of how his wife cares for his home, his money, his clothes, his children and him!  (The word spoil means to plunder or to make money by dubious means.)  He is the breadwinner but he wants (and needs) our assistance in seeing that what he's worked hard for isn't spoiled by us.
    *She spent time gathering supplies in to make things with her hands.  It said she went afar to get just the right merchandise to run their home smoothly. 
   *Every day of her life she did good to her husband and not evil.  (That takes time and a controlled tongue.)
   *She gets up before the sun to feed her household and her maiden.
   *She takes time to go find and purchase a field that she intends to plant a vineyard in.
   *She spent time keeping her physical body strong.
   *She has merchandise she's making to sell and that requires working after the sun goes down.  Today we call that a cottage industry.  There is nothing wrong with it but do you see where it is in her day.  Everyone else is down and she's staying up to work on it.
   *Nor only is she making merchandise to sell, she is covering the needy and she has her own household clothed with scarlet and herself with tapestry.  (This is fine clothing that had hours of needlework involved)
   *Her work obviously helps to make her husband be a man of reknown. 
   *She takes her fine linen that she's made and sells it and delivers it to the merchants.  (No, she didn't set up shop with the merchants.)
   *Because she opened her mouth with wisdom we know she had to have an active relationship with the Lord.  That takes time, it doesn't just happend.
   *She doesn't sit around eating the bread of idleness--this is a busy woman!
  * Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also and then God praise her-  I CALL THAT A PRODUCT WORTH SPENDING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE IN!

   Another lady whose priorities and time management has always captured my interest is "the widow indeed".  I hope I never have to turn to the church to take care of me, but I see here that this woman had lived a life that was so pleasing to God that He commands she's cared for.  What had she spent her time on?
   *She had one husband.  (Being a godly, biblical wife involves time seeking God's commandments for you and it takes time to live them.)
   *The widow indeed spends time in prayers and supplications day and night. (it says she's trusting in the Lord alone--that requires a lot of prayer)
   *It says she was well reported of for her good works.  That got my curiosity up- what did good works mean? 
1) business, employment, that which any one is occupied
a) that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking
2) any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind
3) an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work
     Here we are again with the things that we spend our time on and let ourselves become occupied with that produces the right product.  It also is called "work".
   *She was to have brought up children.
   *She was to have lodged strangers in her home.
   *She was to have washed the saints feet.
   *Relieved the afflicted.
   Sounds like a busy woman doing the right thing before God.

   The Titus 2 woman is my last role model that I seriously look to as a pattern God has given me for how He wants me to occupy my time.
   *I am to be discreet
   *I am to be chaste
   *I am to be a keeper at home (That little word 'at' has a position involved with it.  Some position words would be under, over, in, above, beside, by, etc.) You can't be "at Walmart" and be "at home" at the same time. You can't be "at work" and "at home" at the same time.  The word keeper involves the care of the home and the watchman of the home.  If we properly prioritize our days we can make our WalMart trips, our phone calls, our time on the internet, but we must never, never let them keep us from being the keeper at our home.  If we don't keep it someone else will.  Be on your guard!
   * I am to be good.  That word means to be useful, to be pleasant, to be agreeable, joyful and happy.
    If I'm fighting God's design for my life but yet I decide I have to or get in trouble with God and I grit my teeth and do it, I have skipped this one.  When we yield to the Designer and decide to live life the way He planned it to work best for us, we find great joy and happiness.
   *We ar to be obedient to our own husbands.  That word obedient means:
1) to arrange under, to subordinate

2) to subject, put in subjection

3) to subject one's self, obey

4) to submit to one's control

5) to yield to one's admonition or advice

6) to obey, be subject

   He is to be the one who is in charge, and I'm the subordinate.  I am to be subject to his wishes, I am to subject myself to his control, yield to his admonition and advice and obey and be subject to his wishes. 
   I have found that whenever I agree with God and embrace what He has commanded me to do He gives me wings and I find great freedom and joy in it.  Tr
 Try it--it's much better than being an angry woman with a sign getting your picture in the paper!

 When we refuse to take the occupation that God has given us as women in the Bible we are told in Titus 2:5 that the Word of God is blasphemed.  That is a serious thing.  It makes people take the word of God lightly because they see professing Christians taking their "occupation" lightly.  In Titus 2 He directs that at young women who will not take on their God-given occupation and are trying to get the fruit and blessings of a godly woman (I want my children to go to heaven!  I don't want my children to get involved in sin.  I want my marriage to last.) without carrying out the commands to women.
   The word "blasphemed" means :
1) to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate, blaspheme
2) to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at

  We're there.  So many people have no use for God's word.  They are confused at all the multiple messages coming from professed Christians.  But God is not confused and He's never wrong.  We have a map to follow and it is His word.

  He has much, much more to say to young and older woman but today I want to impress on you how you spend you time.  What your real occupation is.
  I tell the story of when I first learned to do heirloom sewing.  I loved it!  I was consumed with it.  I couldn't wait to get breakfast done so I could pull out my work for the day.  I got irritable with the kids while they were doing school because I wanted them to get done so I could do what I wanted to do.  I dreaded cooking supper, or doing laundry--anything that kept me from what I wanted to do--heirloom sewing. 
  One day, (after another frustrating day at home for everyone) it was just like the Lord said, "You're no longer a keeper at home, a home maker, you're an heirloom seamstress now."  Oh, my how that convicted, but I knew it was true.  That's why my duties as a keeper at home had become frustrating.  I realized I had become an heirloom seamstress that did homemaking on the side and I had to go back to being a homemaker that did heirloom sewing on the side.  When I obeyed the Lord our home became the sweet haven it had always been before that.
  What occupies your time?  What fruit is watching the tv going to give you in eternity?  What fruit is reading novels (and I'm not against either in their proper priority) going to give you in eternity?  But what about a very happy huband who praises you in the gates, or children who rise up and call you blessed?  Pour your heart and life into the occupation that God has given we women!  I'm old enough now that I see much fruit from my labor.  Prov. 31:30,31 says "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands: and let her own works praise her in the gates."  Make that your goal!  Let that pull you through the days you think you can't keep doing it.
   On my headstone when I die I have instructed my children to put, "I HAVE NO GREATER JOY THAN TO HEAR THAT MY CHILDREN WALK IN TRUTH.'  III JOHN 4
  I hope that is able to sum up the occupation of my life and the product I desired to see.  That the children (physical and spiritual) that the Lord allowed Gary and I to raise for Him are all walking in truth.  That's worth it all!


  Today you will influence someone---that's another word for leadership.  How are you going to influence them?  I ask the Lord daily to bring good influences into my children's lives and to protect them from evil influences.  Today-why don't we each make a choice to influence someone that there is joy and freedom in carrying out our lives as women by God's authority and God's design.  You never know who you may influence--it might be your own son or daughter, it might be the neighbor, it might be your mate.  But let's each one be an influence to do what is pleasing before the Lord!




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