Time to occupy
With the passing time, the institution of the funeral becomes more significant to African Americans in their vintage years. Even to those with little philosophical bent, the growing loss of friends and family members causes one to consider the brevity of life. The impediments confronting blacks in America are so challenging that often only the most talented pastors can assure the grieving of the ultimate blessing of life.
When the obituary of the deceased lists numerous achievements it is relatively easy to offer communal gratitude for those blessings. At the funeral of Muriel Walker, an ordinary citizen with a strong independent streak, Rev. Julian A. Cook relied upon Luke 19:13 to inspire the mourners.
Indeed, many blacks suffer from the infirmity of being risk-averse. In Jesus’ proverb in the book of Luke, a wealthy man gives his servants money to invest while he is away. They are instructed to occupy themselves with increasing their fortunes. When he returns, those who decided “to occupy” were rewarded, and the wealthy man took his capital away from the one who failed to invest and gave it to the others. This is a profound message on the ultimate cost of fearfulness.
Muriel lived for 100 years when times in America were tough. Yet she maintained her rugged independence. Rev. Cook reminds us that it is time to occupy, another expression for “get busy,” and increase our assets. But by turning to Saint Luke, he also informs us that “to whomever much is given, of him will much be required.” Luke 12:48.