"Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
- Esther 4:14 NKJV
The other night, my husband and I were having a familiar conversation about the possibility of me getting a “real” job. The subject comes up almost every time we discuss the seriousness of our financial situation, and our desire to be free from debt. For more than 10 years, I have been in full-time ministry, and in all that time, I have never received a “regular” salary. God has cared for us and blessed us in countless ways. But we continue to struggle with debt and lack, and there are times when we feel compelled to consider our options—one of them being me quitting my ministry, and finding employment that will bring more income into our household.
As I thought and prayed about these matters once again, the Lord led me to a timely teaching from the Book of Esther. This young woman goes from living an ordinary life as a poor Jewish girl, to being chosen as the Queen of Persia during the time of King Xerxes. When her cousin who raised her, Mordecai, informs her of an evil plan to annihilate the Jews, Esther is afraid to approach the king without being summoned, because it could mean certain death. (Esther 4:11) Mordecai confronts her reluctance to help with some stern words of warning. "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 royal position for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:13-14 NIV) Mordecai wanted Esther to know that her failure to fulfill her part of God’s plan would have disastrous results for her, and that her disobedience would not guarantee her the security and safety that she had hoped. God’s perfect plan would be carried out—even if He had to use someone else to do it. Fortunately, Esther wisely agrees to do her part, saying: “I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:16 NIV) God honors Esther’s obedience by not only saving her, but all of the Jewish people.
One of the valuable lessons that this biblical account teaches is that eventually, every Christ follower will be faced with a situation that tests his or her willingness to obey God. When this happens, we have two options: we can cooperate with His plan, or we can resist it. Sometimes, the cost of obeying God can seem too high. But what about the cost of disobeying Him? If we refuse to follow the Lord’s plan, He will use someone else to carry it out, and we will lose the opportunity to fulfill His calling. In my case, God let me know that if I turn my back on the ministry He’s called me to, it would not benefit me in the least—financially, or otherwise. The best thing I could do for myself and my family would be to carry out God’s plans for my life, and trust Him for His provision and protection. Perhaps you have been placed in a difficult situation “for such a time as this,” so that you could make an eternal difference in this world for Christ. Remember the lesson from Esther. Heeding God’s call on your life may not be easy, but it is always worth the risk.
Prayer: Lord, whenever I am tempted to resist Your plans and purposes for my life, remind me of what it could cost me. Help me to be so attuned to Your calling that You will never have to pass me over for someone else. Thank You that as I seek to follow Your call, Your blessings and rewards will follow ME!
- J. M. Farro