“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11).
Time is many things. It is the framework through which an eternal God brings forth His redemptive plan for mankind. For you and I, it’s a gift, a precious commodity. And it’s an aspect of our Christian life we’re called to steward.
There are times we question the timeliness of our great God. I don’t know about you, but sadly and erroneously I too often think He is running late!
And yet, the truth is the timing of the Lord is, in fact, perfect!
And so this submission comes at a perfect time, in His time. For today, March 21, 2019 is the Jewish Feast of Purim – which is the 14th day of Adar on the Hebrew calendar. Purim commemorates the defeat of Haman’s wicked plot to massacre all the Jewish people in the Persian Empire of the early 5th Century BC, as recorded in the book of Esther.
You may be wondering – what does Purim have to do with evangelism and Jesus? In a word – much! For you and I have a lot in common with the main character of Purim, Queen Esther.
For she was God’s person, for God’s time, to accomplish God’s purpose in the place God planted her.
You see, your life is critical to the plans and purposes of God, for He has strategically placed you in this time and in this space, wherever you may be, to accomplish something for Him:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Yes, we have been saved to serve and part of our service to God is to do the work of evangelism. Today, God has something for you and for me, for we have been saved for such a time as this!
The Old Testament story of Esther teaches much about timeliness, usefulness, service, and faith. Esther also has applications for you and I as we seek to fulfill our role in God’s redemptive plan we call the Great Commission.
Esther takes the stage during the reign of Persian King Ahasuerus, who ruled from 486 to 465 B.C. The events of Esther take place during his reign, occurring between 483-473 B.C.
As the story goes, Ahasuerus puts out the reigning Queen Vashti for insubordination, appoints officers to gather young women from the Kingdom to Shushan, where he would determine a new queen. Esther, being one of those women, finds favor with Ahasuerus and is installed as Queen.
Interestingly, God is never mentioned specifically in the book of Esther. Yet He is sovereign over History. You see, history is His Story. So the stage is set.
In your life and mine we need to understand that, by faith, we understand God is orchestrating events behind the scenes in order to accomplish His purposes in and through us. Sometimes we may be aware of how He’s working, sometimes not. Yet, we are called to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). And God has strategically placed us in a unique sphere of influence to show and tell others about the love of God found in Messiah Jesus.
When the wicked Haman, a leader in the King’s court, desired homage from the people, Mordecai, Esther’s uncle and a Jewish man, wouldn’t bow. This sent Haman into a fit and laid the groundwork for a conspiracy to exterminate the Jewish people.
Meanwhile, Esther had previously been instructed by Mordecai not to reveal her Jewish identity to anyone, including the King.
When Esther learns about the plot to exterminate the Jews and the decree that had been approved by the King, she is shaken. Amidst this devastating news, she is in a both a unique position to save her people and a circumstance that threatens a life – her own:
He (Mordecai) also gave him a copy of the written decree for their destruction, which was given at Shushan, that he might show it to Esther and explain it to her, and that he might command her to go in to the king to make supplication to him and plead before him for her people. So Hathach returned and told Esther the words of Mordecai.
Then Esther spoke to Hathach, and gave him a command for Mordecai: “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.” So they told Mordecai Esther’s words. – Esther 4:8-12
As you and I think about our own lives, we may never face this kind of pressure, yet we need to understand that there are people in our sphere of influence who need to hear about Christ. And we may be just the person God wants to use to share the life-giving message of the gospel! While Esther was now in a position to affect her people’s physical salvation, you and I are in a position to affect people’s spiritual salvation.
Esther initially is reluctant to go the King Ahasuerus. Then Mordecai sent word to her through a trusted eunuch named Hathach:
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
Esther steps out in courageous faith, reveals her identity as a Jewish woman, and begs the King to intercede. Ahasuerus hears her plea, hangs the wicked Haman, and declares another decree allowing the Jewish people to take up arms against any opposition. Salvation!
Whether we realize it or not, God has placed you and I strategically in a unique set of circumstances at this time among a unique set of people to accomplish His evangelistic purposes. Our task is to seek the Lord regarding who it is and what He’s calling us to. For even as your eyes gaze upon these words, know that God has brought you and I to where we are, at this moment – for such a time as this? What will we do?
“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.” – Colossians 4:5