Studying Beth Moore’s Bible Study on Esther I found myself wrestling with a challenging question. In Esther Chapter 4 Mordecai calls Esther to do more than sitting silently. Faced with the king’s edict drawing nearer Mordecai realizes that his niece is sitting in a position of influence. He sees the bigger picture and asks her to tell King Xerxes (her husband) the truth about Haman’s manipulation and what it will mean for Esther.
Esther was afraid. Speaking up could cause conflict. It is against the law. It could cost her life and still not make a difference for the Jewish people. She expresses her fear to Mordecai, and her uncle reminds her that fear shouldn’t be the dictator of her decisions for some very important reasons.
Esther 4:12-14 says:
“When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: ‘Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 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 your royal position for such a time as this?’”
Beth Moore succinctly reminded us during the study “We can refuse to walk in obedience to God or cower in fear from our calling and He will undoubtedly still accomplish His agenda. As for us, however, we will pass up the fulfillment of our own entire life, purpose, and we, and perhaps even ‘our father’s family’ will miss a mighty work.”
I’ve spent a lot of time studying the concept of how God creates us all with an intentional calling. It’s our choice as to whether we take steps to recognize that calling on our lives and how we can thrive the sweet spot of the unique opportunities God places in front of each of us.
In my book that releases later this summer
, I spend several chapters exploring how to discover, develop, and live out your calling in practical ways. Calling can be defined in many ways. I define calling as the non-negotiable thing placed in you by God to glorify him. We begin to understand our calling by understanding and discovering the gifts given to us by God. These gifts are listed in Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28-30, and Ephesians 4:11.
When we understand that our calling is a gift from God we will live a purposeful life as we live in the sweet spot of our calling. This may mean that we pursue a career or we step up and speak out and raise awareness that leads to change and helps us develop new relationships and build authority and trust with people in our community. Investing in people, loving them well, and reflecting biblical values is always beneficial to God’s kingdom. But it isn’t always a natural first choice.
Esther wasn’t thrilled with the path God placed her on, however, Mordecai was right. Her silence wasn’t a guarantee that King Xerxes would spare her life. Now, I know we are not all in a position (thankfully) where we are putting our lives at risk. However, I believe God calls us all to do something that will feel life-altering at some point. We will come against a wall, physical or metaphorical, and we may think the task is impossible, and really not fun.
Beth Moore reminds us, “Beloved, in the times of greatest struggle when you make the God-ward decision over convenience, earthly comfort, or carnal pleasure you too have come to a critical moment in the fulfillment of your destiny. A defining moment. A war is being waged over your head in the unseen realm, and a great cloud of witnesses is cheering you on. You have no idea what’s at stake.”
We are not called to a life of comfort and ease as Christians. I think that most people understand that Christians shouldn’t expect a life of ease. We’re reminded all through Scripture that a life following Christ will have challenges, but that those trials have a purpose. Carol and Gene Kent are living out this challenge every day. They have turned beauty to ashes by looking at what could be considered divine disappointment into divine surprise.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”
When we live out our calling in partnership with God we will make an impact because we will be doing what our Creator intended for us to do when he created us. But it’s important to remember that God is bigger than our decisions. He doesn’t need us to complete his purposes. Acts17:24-25
says, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Just like Esther, we may be in a situation where we don’t like the choices in front of us, but that doesn’t mean that walking through a challenging obstacle int he short term won’t bring us long term joy and peace! More than that, when we embrace our calling we have the opportunity to flourish in partnership with God.
Have you ever stopped to consider that the purpose of your calling could have a generational impact? Could your choice to engage with the people in front of you in a meaningful way have a Kingdom impact? Could choosing God’s way may be more about living a purposeful life than we admit? What are some ways that you are intentionally living a purposeful life?
If your curious to learn more about how to God has uniquely created each of us I encourage you to preorder a copy of Lessons from the Sidelines (available soon!)