Yesterday, we began to read the book of Esther. Let’s quickly summarize what happened in the first couple of chapters to bring us up to speed for today’s reading:
Chapter 1: King Xerxes, King of Persia, is having a pretty awesome party. He is serving up an endless buffet with unlimited refills. He has a few too many refills and calls for his wife, Vashti, because he wants to look at her. She refuses. He consults with his friends (who might have had a few too many as well),and they decide to execute her as an example to prevent disrespect throughout the kingdom. Buzzkill. Proclamation in Caveman Voice: Men Strong. Women Weak.
Chapter 2: King Xerxes decides it is time for a new queen. Hmm. What’s a good way to pick my next wife? Personality. No. Virtuous qualities? No. Oh! Beauty contest. Proclamation in Caveman Voice: Send Pretty Women. Enter Esther – fits the bill. Also, she’s Jewish, although Xerxes doesn’t know, doesn’t care because that doesn’t affect her looks. Another party. Mordecai, Esther’s uncle, uncovers a plot to assassinate Xerxes. Mordecai tells Esther who tells Xerxes. Esther trusted. Mordecai trusted. Conspirators impaled.
Have your plot uncovered and being impaled? Unfortunate. But having the car ahead of me pay for my weekly McDonalds run? Being seated in the section at the ballpark that receives a free loaf of bread? Sitting down at a restaurant and having a meal served on the house? All of this, and more, has happened to me. I’m a pretty lucky guy. It seems that I find myself at the right place, the right time. It’s either that or people just really think that I need food. Being in the correct location at a critical moment is important. Ask anyone who has ever been late for an interview, or ended up at the wrong Starbucks. But in many circumstances, those two factors are simply not enough. An equally important prerequisite that isn’t always taken into account (and makes the expression way too long like in the title) is the right action. Many times you must DO something in order to take advantage of the golden opportunity that is being presented. Just existing in a place or a moment isn’t enough.
When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:12-14
Christians are already in some of the prime real estate for evangelizing. Christians are in schools. Christians are in workplaces. Christians are on TV and radio. They make TikToks and podcasts. I would say that for most of us, we err on the side of being in the world a little more than not. Having a presence in each of these locations, at this time in history, is not in itself a bad thing. In a caveman voice: School good. Work good. TikTok, umn, me no say. But when you sit on your hands and let the world continue to spin in the same way it always has, then you are in the midst of the right location, the right time, but the wrong action. Simply being an elevated, passive Jew in the kingdom of Persia was not going to save her people from being put to death. Xerxes, didn’t even know. Being a passive Christian in the same manner is equally reckless. They may not even know. THEY. MAY. NOT. EVEN. KNOW. This is most definitely the correct time. Heed Mordecai’s warning. You MUST become an influencer, not in a manner that will get you more clout or draw attention to yourself, but in a manner that draws attention to God. You most definitely were made for a time such as this.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light…Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. – 1 Peter 2: 9,12
Today’s Bible reading passages can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Esther 3-4 and 1 Corinthians 14