The Bible records a parable, Luke 19:13 that Christ used, which can perhaps help us to understand Jesus’ sociological/economic beliefs.
The primary purpose of this parable was to make clear to his disciples that the kingdom of God would not be physically established on the earth for some time, and that until then, they were being entrusted with certain responsibilities.
Jesus, who is depicted as a ruler in the story, would have to leave for a while as he traveled to a faraway place to receive authority to reign over the kingdom.
The Disciples Would Have To Occupy
In his absence, the disciples who are depicted as servants, were to "occupy" until he returned.
Here’s the direct quote from Luke:
“He called his ten servants, and gave to them ten minas, one mina each (a mina today would be worth around $225), and he then told them to ‘Occupy till I come’, (Luke 19:13, King James Version).
The question is, was Jesus’ meaning of the word “Occupy” the same as the version of the word being employed by those who stand opposed to Wall Street (OWS) and the current capitalist system.
The meaning of “Occupy” as it stands in Greek (translated into old English) means “to be occupied with business", and this definition is all about opportunity in life and leaving a legacy; something that requires hard work and dedication.
When the nobleman returns, after being established as king, (a kind of stand-in for Jesus), he calls all his servants together to see what they had accomplished in his absence.
The First Servant
The first servant reports a handsome profit of 10 minas!
Although we don’t know if the first servant invested the money in a herd of sheep or a hedge fund, we do know that he made his gain by engaging in business transactions of some sort.
And he clearly used a free market system to bring about a tenfold return on his investment.
The new king praises the servant and then rewards him with something that’s even greater than what he was originally given, control over ten cities!
The Second Servant
The second servant, too, the who turned his one mina into five gets five cities in return.
The Third Servant
But the third servant who kept the money and didn’t do anything with it angered the king.
“Out of your own mouth will I judge you, you wicked servant", the king said. ”Why didn’t you at least put the money in the bank and draw interest?”.
The ruler orders that the capital, or opportunity, given to the lazy servant be taken from him and given to the most productive servant.
“To everyone who has, more shall be given", the Bible reads, “but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away".
Jesus Was In No way A Socialist!
Jesus rejected collectivism and the mentality that has occupied America for several decades:
Everyone gets a trophy.
Equal outcomes for inequitable performance.
There are clearly both winners and losers, but the gains and losses are determined by the diligence and determination of the individual.
I can’t imagine Jesus supporting the take over of other people’s property or demanding a portion of what others had earned by the sweat of their brows’Can You?
Please let me know what you think.