Summary: The occupy Wall Street movement has missed the mark. It is faceless and pointless. People need Jesus as the center of life, a more abundant life.
In recent days, I have watched protesters, anarchists and the homeless camp in our nation’s parks and sit outside businesses and city halls with signs of protest. What is their point, what are they doing? Let’s look at a typical day in the life of a protestor. 10AM get up, 11 AM smoke, 12 noon, find food. 1PM, meet with leaders and get news, read emails and plan to march. 2PM assembly with the group and get fired up. 3 PM march on Wall Street, dressed like slobs, holding signs, yelling and throwing things. 4 PM get arrested, 6 PM get bailed out, 7PM more marching, 8 PM fight the police, throw things, light fires. 9PM back to camp, 10 PM smoke more, 11 PM read emails, get news eat handouts, call home. 12 PM, lights out.
Paul in his letter to the Philippians has a different take. He wants to occupy Jesus. He want a much better calling for his life. Let’s look at what he said. This is a man in prison, a man who some say would have a right to protest. He says he doesn’t have it all and hasn’t grasped it all but he’s going to forget about all that and those things that happened. What can we take away from that?
One, Paul says we should refocus our attention. I believe the protestors on Wall Street and elsewhere need to focus their attention. Paul says he is going to forget those things which are behind. He’s saying he is going to move in another direction. He says he’s going to refocus, and put away some thoughts, some negativity, some unresolved issues and the weight that besets us all. He’s going to forget all that. Jim Croche sang a song: "Operator" and in that song he sang: "Forget all that, and give me a number so I can find it...." He wanted the number, he was focused on the number. Forget all my troubles, heartaches and tears, give me the number so I can find it. He refocused. Wall Street protesters need to refocus. Hebrews 12:2 "Laying aside every weight and the sin that doth beset us."
Second, We see that Paul is pushing ahead. Protestors also have anarchists, and communists in their ranks that wish to reshape our dialogue, and overthrow our institutions. The Black Blok comes into a demonstration and wearing all black seek to burn, damage and destroy. Thier ultimate goal is to attack the police and confront them with violence. Their plans are diabolical, they want anarchy. Paul says he want to focus on the future on the things before him. He wants to move in a positive direction. He knows things are not good, yet he allows no negativity to creep into his mind. He’s pressing on, he’s moving forward, even as he sits in a prison cell. Mike and I have a lot of projects to take care of, due to things turning out badly at times. We have to get projects going and get things fixed. Basement, Mustang, church stuff, money and house stuff. Lots of projects. We notice how the devil is always there, trying to defeat us. Ephesians six tells us to put on the armor of God, to put on that helmet of salvation, to ward off evil thoughts, negative thoughts, thoughts that can make us quit, make us give in to the devil and give up. No we’ve got to take this imprisoned person of Paul, and say we will focus on the things ahead. Positive things, positive change and positive growth.
Third, the protesters will never be satisfied. What if their demands were met. What if the bank opened its doors and let them in to take what they wanted. What if Wall Street opened its doors and let the protesters in, gave them all the money they wanted and solved every grievance. They would still be empty, alone, and confused. Becuse, unlike Paul and unlike you and I, we are stretching in a different direction. The high calling of God in Jesus Christ. To know Christ better, to know Christ more. To allow him to direct our paths, to rule and reign in our hearts. To know Him and the power of his resurrection to face the days and weeks ahead. To allow that supenatural power to transform us as we seek to transform others by the power that is within us.
My friends, as you look at this country, and look at this world, think of this. I went to the bank the other day. I was going to get some money. There was a security guard at the door for the first time, he was bending over, cleaning up a flower pot that had been tipped over. I asked if he needed some help, he said no sense two of us getting dirty. I asked how it got tipped over. He said probably one of those protestors. It comes down to a simple fact: where is your focus, and where are you going with it. With Jesus, we sympathize and understand, but we are going another way, another truth and another life, a life abundant in Christ.