For Such a Time as This
The story is familiar. A young and lovely Jewish girl became queen through the providence of God. Many of the Jews taken into captivity by then had returned home to Judah, but Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, stayed in Susa. The villain crafted a dastardly plot meant to kill all of her people. She received a message from Mordecai pleading with her to save the Jews by favor of her king, an act fraught with danger. No one could approach the king unless he favored them by waving his golden scepter. If he disapproved, Esther would be put to death. Her reaction to this dilemma was fear, an urgent need to avoid the danger; however, the opportunity to act, to save her people, could not be evaded. Her cousin, the man who raised her from a child, sent the following message which still echoes today: 13 Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.14 For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4
Have you ever faced a choice in life that frightened you, even though you knew the right thing to do? Of course you have! Think of your decision to be baptized or to confess public sins, certainly not the drama of Esther’s dilemma but a decision of abundant importance. In our small normal lives, this decision gave us pause, apprehension, and yet we overcame our dread of public spectacle, gathered our courage, and acted on our heart’s calling so that we might be obedient to God.
We pray for opportunities to serve God, but when the occasion presents itself, we often hesitate with self-doubt or consider our inconvenience, our discomfort, our need to avoid stress, fear of failure. The next time you encounter this dilemma think of this: you’re feeling a tiny bit of what Esther felt that day so long ago! While you weigh the costs of taking action, consider the price of inaction. Think to yourself: did God put me here for exactly this moment, “for such a time as this?”
How are we like Esther today? We can do what Esther did at her decisive moment. She put away her fears, overcame her anxiety, and acted as her God would have her do. She resolved to embrace her responsibility, seize the opportunity, and go to the king. Esther considered the realities of her situation and spoke bravely, “Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”
Esther teaches us a number of lessons, but the heart of her story lies in these echoing words which taken to heart can help you steel your mind, alieve your natural tendency to seek comfort and avoid a challenge. Esther had to choose between an active faith, which involved risk, or doing nothing which also had a risk – the risk of losing it all. When we don’t act on our faith, then our faith is empty, and we are lost.
Faith that does not lead to obedience is a faith that is in vain. James teaches that by works faith is made perfect, that by works we are justified and not by faith only. Faith that fails to act is a faith that is futile.
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.“ James 2
We each have different talents, unique opportunities. We attend worship services, give of our money to the church, and listen to reports of good deeds being done in near or foreign lands. We are a church family, one body in Christ, but the “family” doesn’t visit the sick nor care for the widows, or be a friend to one who is lonely, encourage the discouraged, or inspire a child. The command “as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone” is given to us as individuals! Each member of our church family must recognize the opportunity to serve and respond to the need presented to us… individually. Organizations have no understanding, love, or concern, nor do they visit a needy saint, hug the bereaved…people do. We act individually, and the sum of our actions is greater than the parts, synergy. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For each one shall bear his own load. Galatians 6
We are to do good to all men, especially to the household of faith (Gal. 610), but with each opportunity to serve comes the need to overcome our hesitancy and take action. We are rich in blessings! What holds us back from serving our Lord? Why do we hesitate???
“I must look for opportunities to heal, to help, to save.
And "if for such a time as this," like Esther I must be brave.