Often I hear the phrase “I’m just a….(insert whatever you choose here).
I’ve heard it from choir members, soundboard operators, camera operators, piano players, nursery workers, ushers, admin staff, maintenance people, greeters, and even van drivers. It seems nearly all of us who are part of this living breathing body we call a church have said or felt it at some time or another.
It is usually followed by, “What can I do?” or “What I do doesn’t seem to matter.”
Twice this week I have been reminded of the story of Esther. If you don’t know it, I suggest you take a few moments to check it out.
It is a quick read but basically here is the Cliff Notes version as related in a post from Shaun Miller at Church Production Magazine.
Esther was an orphan, raised by her cousin Mordecai, and through some gruesome circumstances, becomes queen. Fast forward a couple pages, now her people (the Jewish Nation) were about to be exterminated at the hand of a power-hungry prince. Mordecai urges her to use her position to speak with the king and stop this.
Esther, obviously scared, says, “If I go to the king without being invited, I’ll be killed.” Mordecai responds, telling her, “If you don’t go to the king you’ll be killed.” So she has that going for her.
He goes on to tell her, “You have been put in the position, for exactly this reason.” She was in the right place at the right time to stop it, but she needed courage.
In Chapter 4, verse 14, Mordecai responds to Esther’s fears:
“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?”
The phrase “for such a time as this” has stuck with me for a long time. I think that is because it goes so much deeper than the story of Esther. It provides hope for the twists and turns my life has made.
Fusing that concept with another truth found in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I know we are not here by coincidence, or by accident. God isn’t using us as pawns in a cosmic game of chance. He has put each of us here for such a time as this. We are who we are and we do what we do for God’s purpose.
We are here to become part of the answer to the dilemmas and injustices we face as individuals, as a church, as a community and a people. We must live as examples of Christ’s love and faithfulness despite loss, challenge, adversity or fear.
We can remember the past and lament the present but need to celebrate the promise of our future.