Such a Time as This
Ever wonder if what you do day in and day out matters? There are many stories in the Bible of nameless people who, while completing their daily tasks, did things that changed the course of history.
Just like so many in the world right now, I have been working on being still and listening to God. This exercise takes a lot of focus because “still” is not a word that defines my normal makeup. Today as I watered the garden feeling like I needed to be doing something important, not just important to me but important for the world at large, I remembered that the first job God gave man in the garden was to tend his creation. In that moment, I was reminded that God does not have the same agenda as the world. Not only was the task of gardening important for survival, it was a source of beauty and amazement. God gives us assignments that support our benefit. They often do nothing to impress the world.
Once a week the 6th, 7th and 8th grade kids who gather with me on Wednesday nights during normal times have been joining for a Zoom meeting during this social distancing phase we are now enduring. This week we talked about the book of Esther. Reading through the first several chapters some things jumped out about the lives of the characters.
There was a scribe who recorded Mordecai’s name in his record keeping. His articulate work became the catalyst that saved the lives of the Jewish people living under the reign of King Xerxes. If you ask the world about the importance of his clerical job, not many would want to give him a standing ovation. However, in time his precise note taking became a matter of life and death. God can use anything we do for His purposes. God can use men and women who are or are not committed to Him to accomplish His purposes. I was reminded not to trust the understanding of man but rather to always trust God. My lack of understanding does not negate his faithfulness.
Esther probably never thought of her position as being important to the world. She was raised by her uncle after the death of her parents. Her place in society as a child may have been obscure but unlikely circumstances altered her definition from orphan to queen. From there her influence became pivotal. As the story unfolded, she took advice from her uncle. She took advice from the eunuchs who served her. She listened to and heeded instruction in matters that went far beyond her skill set. She did not sign up to be the Jewish negotiator or rescuer. When faced with life and death decisions, she was not full of confidence in herself. Her uncle reminds that she is in a royal position for a reason when he says “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 4:14 NIV The story records her obedience to her uncle. The story makes it clear that she understood the need for help from God when she asked the Jewish people to fast and pray with her. God used her. She listened to instruction and God used her obedience. I was reminded to listen to wise counsel.
Most of humanity is questioning what is going on right now. This international health crisis has even the experts baffled. We are bombarded with conspiracy theories, prevention tactics, economic woes, grief and political unrest. These occurrences are not new. They are however, compressed into a timeline that feels unprecedented.
This morning, enjoying the beauty of nature, I was thankful that what God created is reliable. Down to the smallest detail I can count on his faithfulness. The bluebonnet flowers will dry into bluebonnet seeds to provide a new beautiful crop next year. The llama will give birth to a llama. The morning will fade into noon and then evening. While the news and the politicians and the scientists may not be able to agree on what is happening in the world, God is not confused. He is not in the business of confusing mankind. He is in the business of loving and providing for mankind if we will but listen. Esther, the orphan queen, did not know all the answers but she knew to act in accordance with wise counsel and humble herself before God in times of crisis. Once again, a beautiful story of provision from the Word of God.
Psalm 13 could have been written for today. The NIV version reads:
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
If you think what you do has no significance in the world, think again. If you think great people have all the answers, think again. If you think being faithful in your small tasks is no big deal, think again.