How One Woman Used Bad News to Upgrade Her Life

How do you respond to bad news? When my friend Dawn Wilson learned her cancer had returned, the Lord showed her how to upgrade her life. I asked Dawn to share her insights with you.

How to ‘Occupy’ until Jesus Returns

When I recently found out I was out of remission with Multiple Myeloma the Lord gave me the word “OCCUPY.”

When I recently found out I was out of remission with Multiple Myeloma the Lord gave me the word “OCCUPY.” @dawnmariewilson #RefreshingFaith Share on X

Jesus uses this word in a parable found in Luke 19:11-26. Verse 13 in the King James Version says, “occupy till I come.”

The phrase is translated in different ways in other versions of the Bible:

  • Do business till I come” (NKVJ)
  • “Put this money to work until I come back” (NIV)
  • Invest this for me while I am gone” (NLT)

Jesus used the concept of financial stewardship in this parable. But I want to expand it beyond finances.

First, let me summarize the parable:

  1. A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king. 
  2. Before he left, the master called 10 of his servants and loaned a mina to each of them. One mina was about the equivalent of three months’ wages.

The master told them to put that money to work until he returnedto “occupy” or do their business in a wise way.

  1. The master—now a king—returned,and he sent for his servants to find out what they had “gained” with the money. One said he earned 10 more minas; another five.

The master praised and rewarded them both.

  1. Then another servant came with his mina, hidden away in a cloth.Perhaps he was afraid of losing it. But he accused the master of “hardness.”

So the king responded in hardness, calling him a “wicked servant.”

The man could have at least banked the money so it would collect interest. His mina was taken away and given to the good steward who had gained the ten minas.

  1. Finally, the king executed those who “hated him” and rebelled against his authority (vv. 14, 27). (Someday Jesus will defeatHis enemies.)

* Note: The parable in Luke 19 is not the same parable found in Matthew 25:14-30.

How to ‘Occupy’

Here is how the Lord spoke to me about occupying—upgrading my stewardshipin the days to come.


“Godwardness” is my word for everything that encourages my focus on my Father God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

It involves everything from scripture reading and memorization to meditation, prayer, worship, singing to God and about Him—so many areas.

I asked myself, “Are you content with your adventure with God? Where could you make that journey more fulfilling—better yet, more God-honoring?”

Then I asked the Lord and got better answers than my initial thoughts!

Maybe you want to ask those questions as well . . . and then act for change.


I can be more careful with my money. When I don’t buy unnecessary things, and when I curb my “wants,” I have more resources to support my church, send to missionaries, or share with others in their time of need.

Think about your finances. Consider “investment” rather than spending, and see if your priorities change.

(3) TIME

Instead of “frittering away” free time, I can invest that time wisely, using every opportunity for the Kingdom.

How might we invest our time for the King?


Our relationship with God is primary, but our human relationships are worth investing in too (Ephesians 6:2James 1:27aProverbs 17:171 Thessalonians 5:11Ephesians 6:5-9).

We need people, especially our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. In fact, the family of God was designed by God to help us in our times of stress.

How can we upgrade our relationships in positive ways?


This area of stewardship is threefold:

  • the investment of the SPIRITUAL GIFTS God has given us,
  • development of new SKILLS, and
  • better use of the TALENTS we’ve developed over time.

Once we know our spiritual gifts, we should consider practical ways to use them under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

We develop skills and talents in our careers, hobbies, and simply out of necessity. They contribute to our uniqueness in the family of God. We can creatively use them to minister to others.

My friend Kim founded a group called Kingdom Quilters. The ladies make quilts and other things for orphanages and other sites of need in Guatemala and Mexico.

Is there something in your heart or hands you could invest for the good of others and the glory of God?


I want to do better in witnessing to others about God’s gift of salvation in Jesus Christ—whether as part of mission outreaches around the world—by going or giving so others can go—or by walking next door to share with my neighbor.

It’s never easy for me. But when I think about the Lord’s return, it’s more motivating, right?

What Are We Waiting For?

Just as the master rewarded the servants in the parable with 10 cities and 5 cities, God’s children will be rewarded with crowns and rewards according to their faithfulness on earth.

Jesus is coming back! His coming is “imminent”—it could happen any time (Matthew 24:36).

The Lord’s return is a great motivation to be busy serving Him (1 Corinthians 15:58) and living righteously (2 Timothy 4:8b).

I want to faithfully and creatively “occupy” until Jesus returns—or until He calls me home. I hope that’s your desire too.

Which area of stewardship could use an upgrade in your life?

Click here to comment.

Dawn Wilson, founder and president of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator the blog, Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for women’s teacher and revivalist, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth at Revive Our Hearts, and is a regular columnist at She and her husband Bob live in sunny Southern California, and Dawn has traveled with Him in Pacesetter Global Outreach. They have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Photo by Alayna Tam on Unsplash

Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here #Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. J.D. Wininger

    Oh, how I love the concept of “Godwardness.” Thank you for this encouraging post Ms. Dawn; and thank you for introducing this dear woman of God Ms. Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, J.D. May we all grow in Godwardness!

    • Dawn Wilson

      Thank you, J.D. for your encouraging words.

  2. Nancy E. Head

    What a wonderful message. How easily our focus drifts to earthly things. And you aptly identify in which areas the drift appears. Great post! God bless!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, the things of this earth sure clamor for our attention. Dawn provides a better focus for us.

  3. Ann J Musico

    A great and sobering reminder that our time is definitely limited and His return is imminent! I honestly can use an upgrade in all areas!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Ann!

  4. Ellen Stevens

    Amen…beautifully written! Love the applications of truth!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I did too. Thank you, Ellen!

  5. Sally Matheny

    Dawn, thank you for sharing these beautiful insights. Our family members are not strangers to the challenges of multiple myeloma. We are lifting you up in prayer as you press forward.

    • Dawn Wilson

      Thank you, Sally, for that prayer. Pressing forward is exactly what I have in mind! And I hope your family will in this challenge too. (Phil. 3:14)

  6. Terry L Palmer

    Thanks for your thorough presentation. So good for each of us to pause and examine and amen. Pray that all of us will be tuned to a prompt from the Holy Spirit to lead another to Jesus and amen.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, Terry! May we all be so in tune and focused for God’s glory.

  7. Barbara Harper

    What a needful thing to do, to evaluate all our resources in light of God’s kingdom and how we’re investing them for Him. With more of life behind me than in front of me, I want my life to count for Him.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Barbara. I want my life to count for Him.

  8. Barbara Latta

    Sometimes we can misunderstand what Jesus meant when He told us to occupy. Thanks for sharing these inventive and scriptural ways to keep doing the Lord’s business until He returns.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, I found Dawn’s teaching to be very enlightening. Thanks for reading.

  9. Patrick

    Very encouraging. God bless and keep you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Patrick.

  10. PaulaShort

    Amen, Debbie and Dawn. Thank you for sharing this wonderful message. I appreciate your insights and encouragement within this moving and poignant post. And I love how God gave you the word occupy.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Paula, thanks so much for reading.

    • Dawn Wilson

      Thank you, Paula. I always had a problem with the word “occupy,” asking God, “What do you mean by that?” So it was a good study for me.

  11. Donna

    Beatiful post, Debbie and dawn! So inspiring to witness God redeeming everything for our good and His glory. The study on “occupy” was truly enlightening!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Donna. I appreciate you dropping by.

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