I want to start out by saying that I am not setting myself against anything or anyone in this email. What I am most trying to achieve is a little perspective, for myself primarily, but also for those who want it.
The word "occupy" is defined many different ways. Online, I found several definitions:
1. To engage or employ the mind, energy or attention of.
2. To take or fill up (time, space, etc).
3. To take possession or control of (a place), as by military invasion.
4. To be a resident or tenant of.
5. To take or hold possession.
There is much in the news about a movement of people who are fed up with the way things are and have chosen to do something about it. While I'm sure it is a very good subject to discuss, that is not my topic for today. You're probably a little surprised since it is such a catch phrase right now: occupy.
Actually, my line of thinking has gone somewhere else entirely.
As I sat at the Hillsong Live concert last night, I looked around and saw many believers all together in the same place. I assumed that most, if not all, of us had come because of the great influence that Hillsong has had on individual as well as corporate worship.
While we sat waiting for the music to begin, I turned my heart toward God in prayer. I put my thoughts on Him and what He has done in my life. I thanked Him for His Son and for the freedom I find because of my life in Christ. I did this quietly and privately within the space of my stadium seat.
I looked up, and I was amazed and in awe to see so many with their heads bowed as we waited for the worship time together to begin.
And then I saw the lighted screens.
My heart broke a little bit to see that most of those people with their heads bowed were conducting business on their phones rather than preparing for worship in prayer like I had thought they were doing.
I wondered if we were to gather as many Muslims in such a place for the purpose of worship, would we see the same behavior? What about Buddhists?
As I reflected on all of this, the lights went down and Hillsong began to sing from offstage...a beautiful a cappella version of Come Thou Fount.
And the cameras started going off.
What am I not saying? First of all, I am not condemning anyone. If you're like me at all, you play this game:
"What if their dying grandma couldn't make it and wanted to see a picture?"
"What if they're reading scripture from their bible app in order to focus in on worship?"
I get it. You can't judge a book by its cover. But 3 out of 4 people? With sick grannies? I don't know.
I understand that it's just a band. It's not like we all gathered together to see Jesus in the flesh.
But Hillsong is (and always has been) known for leading worship. As soon as the first song, "God is Able" began to play, people sang and raised their hands to God. And I'm sure they truly worshipped.
If they were occupied in worship at that time, what were they occupied in before? How were they engaged? What did their time and energy go toward?
It makes me think of a bathroom on an airplane. The ones that turn to green when available or red when occupied. How many times does our Lord find our hearts in either position? Sometimes I think that we are so busy entertaining ourselves that we don't stop to put our thoughts on Him until it's the proper time.
The proper time?!?!
I know that I do it. I would like to think that I don't do it as much as most people, but I'm probably kidding myself. Besides, does it really even matter how much I do it compared to other people? That's a dumb game that too many of us play. Because the truth of the matter is this:
I fall short.
We fall short.
And the sad thing is...we're occupied with really GOOD things a lot of the time. "Good" things...not "bad" things.
If you live in the city, you've heard the term and seen the effects of "light pollution." The idea is that there's so much ambient lighting that the natural light of the stars and planets cannot be seen.
Is it that way with the busy-ness of our lives? Is there so much noise, entertainment...even the good stuff...that we find it increasingly difficult to be still and quiet and focus our energies and attentions on our Lord? Especially when it's not the "proper" time?
I'm kind of a mess. Without the Holy Spirit's direction I am a BIG mess. So please don't think that I am scolding or reprimanding out of my flesh. I'm only passing along the thoughts that came to me as I reflected on the things that I have seen. The truth is, I'm a little stung by these truths, as well.
How are you occupied? With a lot of good stuff? Light is a good thing, but is there too much of the artificial light distracting you from the real thing? When is the last time that you did something without the purpose (in one way or another) of finding entertainment?