Esther accepted her role in history. At great risk, she went before the King, who gladly welcomed her. Through the work of God, of Esther's cleverness as well as beauty, and of her position in the palace, the evil man was eliminated, Mordeccai was praised, and God's people were saved. Esther recognized that God had brought her to her important position "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:12-16).
But, what if this phrase, "for such a time as this," is not just about Esther? What if it is a challenge to each of us — you and me — personally? What if we were purposed by God to live in just this time? After all, wasn't this story recorded in Scripture to be one of our stories — to help remind us of who we are?
There are basically two choices to understand why we are here.
- We are here by accident — we are nothing more than a random combination of genetic material with no real purpose other than to live out our random fates.
- We are here by God's plan — we are put here intentionally to live out his purpose in our lives.
If we choose the second, then where we live, who we are, what we have, and how we use those things are all eternally important. We realize that we are put in the position in which we find ourselves "for such a time as this"!
As I was talking with a friend who is far wiser about money and investing than myself, I was verbalizing my concern about all the debt we are accumulating and that our kids and grandkids are going to have to pay for all of our responsibilities. This friend suggested that the incredible wealth we have enjoyed in the Western world over the last 80 years or so could be an anomaly — not something we should assume will continue to last for generations and generations. He then said, "It's not about passing on our wealth to our kids and grandkids, but about what we do now with what we have received to advance the Kingdom of God."
This was a powerful wake up call for me. I knew he was correct in his statement. Yet so many of us have been pre-occupied — and some overwhelmed — with the downturn in the economy. We have lost sight of all of our tremendous blessings. Having so much is not enough for us.
There are understandable reasons for this. Some of it has to do with our human hearts always wanting more. However, there is also another issue. The brightest minds, the best video, and the most creative work in our culture is done to help us realize what we lack — this is the work of advertisements. We are bombarded with messages manipulating us to want to get new and better versions of what we already have and to acquire the many things we think we lack.
James Bryan Smith in his book The Good and Beautiful God, tells a powerfully convicting story about a birthday party for a young child. This little girl was not pleased with any of the gifts she was opening. As she tore into them, she cast them aside because none was the gift she wanted most. All the parents were mortified, the children giving gifts were disappointed, and the parents of the child were embarrassed. As Mr. Smith sat there thinking about the situation, the Holy Spirit convicted him that he was that child — that he focused more on what he lacked than on all that God had so richly blessed him to have. As I read this chapter, I was convicted as well.
We are incredibly blessed, yet we often focus more on what we lack than on how we can use what we have to advance the Kingdom of God. We have not realized that God has put us in the position in which we find ourselves — understanding English which is the new world language, living in a time where we can travel quickly, communicating globally in unparalleled ways via the computer and cell phone, and having the freedom to do these things in the name of Jesus.
Who knows, but that we have come to our position for such a time as this!
As we approach Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are those around us who are hurting. There are people all over the world who do not enjoy the blessings that we have. There are people hungering to know the love of God, the grace found in Jesus, and the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. All around are opportunities to help step up and make an eternal difference in the lives of precious people — if you haven't gotten a copy, I encourage you to read Max Lucado's book, Outlive your Life and be inspired to make a difference!
Over the last 10 days, I've shared a blog and several articles of a summer mission trip to an incredible orphanage north of Lima, Peru, called La Comunidad de los Niño Sagrada Familia. If you haven't looked at the blog or the website for what is often called "The Community," I hope you will do so. If you are looking for a project to bless the lives of children, I hope you will consider them as an option.
In addition, one of our Heartlight.org team members, Ben Steed, will be going with Compassion International on a trip to Ecuador. So I hope you will consider Compassion International, one of our friends and partners over the years, as another possible place to go to bless the lives of children.
Whether it is near or far, I hope you will join me in learning to give thanks for the myriad of things, big and small, that are blessings in our lives. Most of all, I hope you will realize that you are not here by accident. God knew you in the womb of your mother and has a plan and purpose for your life (Psalm 139:13-16). What you do with who you are and what you have can matter in the lives of others forever, because God put you here as part of his plan "for such a time as this"!