Am I doing what I ought to be doing? Am I where I am supposed to be? What does God expect of me?”
Sometimes we are in a position or set of circumstances when we are not thinking about it but ought to be asking these very questions to discover our purpose. Such was the case for the very beautiful Queen Esther.
Esther, a young Jewish woman, was taken to be the favored wife of the King of Persia who did not know she was a Jew. She lived very comfortably in the palace –for a time– as the most beloved of the king who even made her his queen. But the jealous and power-hungry advisor to the king intervened and plotted to have all the Jewish people in the land destroyed.
And the king said to Haman, “The silver is yours, and the people also, to do with them as you please.”
When Esther learned of this, she knew she risked certain death to go before the king to plead for her people and thereby reveal she was Jewish. She feared for her life. But Mordecai, the cousin who had raised Esther from childhood, reminded her of her responsibility and of her purpose, saying:
If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?
Resolute, even at great risk to her own life, she prayed for three days before going to the king to tell him everything. As a beloved of the king, and because she spoke up in honesty, the king showed mercy, punished Haman and saved the Jewish people from certain destruction.
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
Human history is full of countless acts of such courage, putting others before self at great sacrifice. But one of the meaningful lessons about Esther, for me, is to be mindful also of prayerfully asking the “why” questions.
Why am I in this position? What is the purpose for where I am living, the job I am doing, whom I am encountering? Am I in this for my own comfort, or for some other purpose?
As Pastor Wayne Field points out in his studies on the Book of Esther:
Where you are at in your life today is no mistake. God has a purpose for you in your position at work, at home, at school in your neighborhood.1
At times I ask, “Okay, but how exactly do I know what that purpose is?” Pastor Rick Warren outlines some helpful steps for seeking God’s purpose:
When you are seeking God’s call on your life, you need to follow Esther’s example.
First, get all the support you can. Esther had Mordecai and the Jews pray for her. You need to get your small group to support you in prayer. If you don’t have a small group, now is the time to find one.
And second, you need extended time alone with God. I want to encourage you to schedule a retreat with God…you won’t hear God’s call on your life if you don’t get alone with him.2
How Esther used her gifts and her influence to fulfill her purpose remains an eternal inspiration, as Pastor David Jeremiah reminds us:
You are an influencer! God has placed you exactly where you are, “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) … every person makes a difference — every person has a circle of influence … God gives each of us “influence opportunities” —even when life is grossly unfair, or the opposition seems unbeatable.3
As time goes by, I continue to learn that seeking my purpose, God’s purpose, is a life-long process. In fact, I find it is often a moment-by-moment commitment so that I am challenged to follow Jesus as He answers the ultimate “why” question:
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will,
but to do the will of him who sent me.
1 Field, W. (September 2004). “The Woman Who Said Yes to God.” Retrieved from the Sermon Central.com website: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/the-woman-who-said-yes-to-god-wayne-field-sermon-on-esther-71905.asp
2 Warren, R. (2014, May 21). “You Are Gifted For Such A Time As This.” Retrieved from the Rick Warren.org website: http://rickwarren.org/devotional/english/you-are-gifted-for-such-a-time-as-this
3 Jeremiah, D. (2016) “Esther: Courage for Difficult Times.” Jeremiah, D. Retrieved from the David Jeremiah.org website: http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/digitalappeals/0915.aspx