There are certain phrases in the Christian community that are quoted so much that I almost feel like I've built up a sort of immunity to their potency, simply because I've heard them used so many times.
I've heard it used and quoted so many times that I have a tendency to let it go in one ear and out the other. But yesterday morning I was reading the book of Esther and for some reason, as I read it in context, it jumped off the page as if I had never heard it before. It moved from being a bit of a cliche (for lack of a better term) to being alive with power and purpose.
Esther was an orphan being raised by her older cousin, Mordecai. The king of their land, after being humiliated by his wife and basically dethroning her, was in search of a new queen. The king's advisers went to him with a proposal. Their idea was to go to each province and gather the most beautiful virgins, bring them back to the palace, give them beauty treatments for a year and then let him pick the best of the best for his new queen. Then I read a verse that made me laugh out loud. It said:
"This advice appealed to the King, and he followed it."
Um.... yeah??!! Can't really imagine him refusing that one.
Anyway, Esther was obviously beautiful but the story tells us that not only was she beautiful but she had a great sense of humility about her which helped her to find favor with those around her.
To make a long story short, Esther was chosen to be the new queen. The king did not know this but Esther was a Jew. While she was living in the king's court she learned (from Mordecai) that the king had approved a conspiracy to kill of all the Jews in the land. Mordecai realized the timeliness of Esther's recent placement in the palace and encouraged her to appeal to the king to save the lives of her people. But, (and this is a big BUT) in order to do this Esther would have to go to the king which was not permitted unless you were invited, admit her nationality, and risk her life of comfort and luxury in hopes that she could save thousands of lives.
It was at this critical decision making time Mordecai floated out this pivotal and emotionally charged question and said, "Who knows that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"
Esther decided to rise to the challenge and responded by saying, "If I perish, I perish." Such courage!!
I've heard this phrase thrown around a lot but often without the gravity that it deserves. This was not about Esther rising to some position of power and influence but actually the complete opposite. It was about Esther realizing that her position was really not about her at all but about the thousands of lives that would be saved.
There are a lot of people anxious to have a position of influence but would they still be willing if it meant risking every comfort that they know...even their life? (I'm asking myself too...just so you know!)
Doesn't seem as glamorous when you read it that way. But what a beautiful display of courage to aspire to! The crown, the *bling*, the position, but along with it...the risk of total exposure.
Who are the people in your circle of influence you have been called to reach out to? Would you be willing to risk total exposure if you thought it may save a life?
I would love to hear from you...feel free to comment :)