Monday, 17 March 2014

What are YOU here for?

The Lenten readings take a break, and since I'm up to date, I wanted to reflect on the book of Esther. This amazing book doesn't mention God by name, but speaks powerful of God's sovereignty. This last word is a loaded one, and means different things to different people, but whatever you understand it to mean, Esther is very clear that God is never very far from the action.

In Esther 4, Mordecai, Esther's guardian learns of Haman's genocidal plot. One wonders how many people groups no longer exist because of genocidal maniacs down through the ages. No one has managed to destroy the Jews, though many have tried. Mordecai's expression of grief is a whole post in itself. I wonder whether or not we grieve well, and whether or not we grieve well about the right things.

What is key to this passage are Mordecai's words to Esther when she tells him how difficult approaching the king was, potentially life ending. He says:

 'Do not imagine that you in the king’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?'

Her meteoric rise to fame could have been exactly so she could save the Jews, and indeed so she did. Deliverance could arise from elsewhere - but Esther could choose to play her part.

The risk with trying to apply a passage like this to ourselves immediately is that maybe most of us won't ever do anything so dramatic. Don't buy the TV evangelist hype of the perfect life or perfect ministry. Maybe the things you get to choose, the life you have attained might appear very ordinary. Yet what you can choose to do might have much eternal significance.

I'm happy being a lay preacher in a small church - I doubt I'll ever grace the stage of a mega-church. But that hardly matters. I keep finding myself in places where the things I can do and the things I know find an opportunity to be used - I can hardly say no to them.

Is God making you an offer you shouldn't refuse? What is there right here and right now you could be doing? Big or small, who knows, maybe you have attained your position 'for such a time as this?'

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