This morning during my quiet time, I felt God lead me to the book of Esther. Esther 4: 10-17 says:
Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai: “All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai. Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place,d but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.” So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.
I felt God telling me that I have to use my position "inside the inner court" to help those outside of it, otherwise I will lose my position. At first, I could not discern what He was telling me, so I proceeded to just side and listen.
I pondered on this season of Advent...on this beautiful season of celebration the day Heaven came to Earth in the form of a tiny baby that would become the Savior of the World.
Suddenly, I felt my heart hurting and burdened for people in a period of distress of some sort during this Advent season.
How does Advent come to someone who is homeless and living under a bridge?
How does Advent come to a single parent who struggles to pay bills every month?
How does Advent come to a person grieving the loss of someone they love?
How does Advent come to parents of special needs kids who fear that their beloved child will never really know what Christmas is?
How does Advent come to a person who has been laid off from their job and is having trouble making ends meet?
How does Advent come to a person dealing with a difficult diagnosis?
How does Advent come to an addict who is stuck in the misery of their situation?
How does Advent come to a person who is injured and unable to work and is living in their cold house because they could afford to pay their light bill this month?
How does Advent come to a child who doesn't get to eat dinner at night after they get home from school?
In the Scripture passage above, Mordecai sent word to his niece, Esther, who was the chosen Queen of Persia. Note that Mordecai was outside of the palace gates dressed in a sackcloth, a coarsely woven fabric that was typically made of goat's hair. In his word to Esther, he cautioned her to not forget about the droves of people that were outside of those palace gates....HER people. Mordecai reminded her that if she did not choose to help the Jews, their deliverance would come from another place, but that if she did not rise up "for such a time as this," she would perish.
As I felt God speaking to my heart, I was reminded that our gifts are not just for us to store up and keep a record of. Our gifts are given to us to bless us, yes. But more importantly, our gifts are meant to be poured out and given away.
After all, what good does light do if we just keep it held in our hands?
We are the righteousness of God....meaning that we have a seed of everything that God is in us. We have the light of God in us - we are called to pour it out and give it away. Nothing God gives us is ever just for us. I have to believe that we are like Esther....if we choose to harbor the gifts He gives us inside of us and not use them to give light and hope to others, I believe we will lose them. I know that's a big statement, but I feel like it lines up with the Word. God doesn't have to honor anything that we do not steward well. And when He gives us good and perfect gifts, He wants us to use them to pour Him into others.
Author Ann Voskamp says, "You've got gifts that weren't given to line your life with; they were given to be a lifeline to others - or you lose your life."
Mordecai's message in the book of Esther is a right now word. We've got to use our positions "inside the inner court" to benefit those outside the inner court. God wants to use us to help get everyone we encounter inside the inner court with us. He gifts us gifts, talents, and abilities to steward well and be a light to those around us. If we miss God and miss letting Him use us as He wants to, we place ourselves in a position to lose everything. I truly believe that because I have lived it. I am living proof that God will stop at nothing to get your life to line up with what His will for you is so He can use you to pour into others....because He loves us all so much.
When we discover our true identity in Christ, we beautifully lose our grip on all the gifts He has put within us. We need nothing as long as we have Him. We lack for nothing when we are in His presence. All we want to do is love Him, be obedient to Him, and please Him. So once we know....truly know....who we are in Christ, we can live freely - which I am learning means living a life poured out. A life dedicated to loving God through loving and serving others....sharing His light wherever we go.
That is why we are called for such a time as this.