I’ve had the pleasure of sitting on the sideline for years now watching my daughter play soccer. In this sport everyone on the team has the same objective: score goals to win the game. Individually, each player does their part, plays their unique position, and works on improving their skills. The ultimate goal, however, is for the team to win, and working well together accomplishes so much more than an individual player can accomplish alone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes one player isn’t playing their best, other times they just aren’t able to play well together, and sometimes there is perhaps the most detrimental of all: the glory-hog. That’s the one who lets selfish ambition take over, and weakens the whole team in the process.
The book of Esther in the Bible is a favorite of mine. It’s one that reads like a novel, full of twists and suspense. Allow me to summarize the plot: Esther is an orphaned Jewish girl who finds herself chosen and crowned as queen of the non-Jewish kingdom. During this time a plan emerges to kill all the Jews and Esther is in the unique position to help her people and try to stop this plan, but doing so would be potentially deadly for her. As she considered her options, this is what her uncle told her:
“If you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will come to the Jewish people from another place, but you and your father’s family will be destroyed. Who knows, perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this” Esther 4:14 (CSB)
This verse presents one of the most famous phrases in the Bible, for such a time as this. We’ve all had moments like this, where we are in a position to make a difference, but for whatever reason we are hesitant to act. One of the reasons Esther was so scared was she had kept her identity a secret from the king up until this point. She was a Jew, one of God’s chosen people, the people they were planning to kill. Saving her people would mean exposing everything she had kept hidden. So, what’s a girl to do? Well, what Esther does is rally her tribe. She tells her uncle to have all the Jews fast, and also gets her female servants to do the same. Following that, she bravely talks to the king, saving her people.
We all have the same purpose: grow the kingdom of God. Each of us holds gifts, talents, and positions to live that purpose uniquely. It isn’t about being in the spotlight, although sometimes we find ourselves there. It isn’t about being the one in the back field supporting the front line, though that may be where we spend a season. Perhaps it’s about living our unique purpose every day, exactly where we are. How much better would our individual and collective experience, reach, and impact be if we purposefully involved those around us?
While running with purpose, may we always look …
…to the one in front of us, she may be able to take the ball further than we can;
…to the one behind us, she may need our help, and she has a different view of the field;
…to the ones beside us, cheering and waiting to help us as they are running with us;
…to the one above, who brought us this far and put us in position for such a time as this.
Personal reflection (Reflective Observation Questions 1-2:
1. Where are you at, and why do you think God put you there? What is your purpose today?
2. Who can you ask to support, encourage, mentor and pray for you as you live your purpose?
3. Who can you support, encourage, mentor and pray for in their purpose?
Goal setting and sharing:
List 3 goals that you would like to accomplish (at home, at work, with family, etc) that will allow you to live out your purpose: