Such A Time As This – by Greg Albrecht
Friend and Partner Letter from October 2016:
“And who knows but you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9
About 475 years before the birth of Jesus, Esther and Mordecai were Jews living in Susa, one of the four capitals of the Persian Empire. The Jews had been taken into exile in Babylon a century before, and then 50 years after that Babylon was conquered by the Persians. The Persians released the captive Jews and let them go home, but some, including Mordecai and Esther, decided to remain. Esther had been adopted by her cousin Mordecai – an influential advisor to the king – and because of her beauty Esther was chosen to be a part of the King’s royal harem.
Even though they were no longer captives, living within the Persian Empire as a Jew was not easy. Throughout history Jews have suffered as a minority in countries all over the world – even today Jews everywhere, most notably in Europe and the Middle East, are experiencing a dangerous, intolerable and unsafe environment of hatred and prejudice.
Mordecai told Esther that she may have “come to royal position for such a time as this” after King Ahasuerus selected Esther from the royal harem to replace Queen Vashti, who angered the King by refusing to parade her beauty at a royal feast.
After Esther became Queen, her cousin Mordecai informed her of the catastrophic consequences of a decree the King had been tricked into issuing.
A powerful and evil man named Haman, who carefully engineered his own rise to power, becoming the prime minister of Persia, the second most powerful ruler after the King, had carefully manipulated Ahasuerus into issuing a decree that would wipe out all the Jews in the Persian Empire.
Haman hated Jews in general, and Mordecai, one of the most influential of all Jews in the empire, specifically. Haman had even prepared gallows upon which he hoped to see his rival Mordecai executed. An empire-wide massacre, somewhat like the Holocaust of the 20th century, was close to being implemented when Mordecai asked Esther to use her influence to save her people.
Fast forward to the 21st century A.D. – almost 2,500 years after the extraordinary way in which Esther accepted the challenge to allow God to use her “for such a time as this.” There is no doubt that you and I live in a stormy and turbulent time in human history – when hatred and violence, mayhem and murder characterize so much of our planet. We feel helpless in what seems to be a hopeless world bent on escalating and increasing evil, hatred and bloodletting. But by God’s grace, we are not helpless. There is no doubt that, like Esther, YOU AND I CAN USE OUR OWN GOD-GIVEN ROYAL POSITION FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS.
Peter tells us, as Christ-followers, that we are a priesthood of all believers – each one of us, by God’s grace, is in a “royal position” as was Esther. We too are a minority – a minority within the nations in which we live and, ironically, even a minority within the religion of Christendom that is “doing business” in the name of Jesus. Peter speaks of Christ-followers, the body of Christ, as “a holy nation” and as “people belonging to God.” Peter speaks to you and me about our mission, our cause and our reason for living saying God has given his grace “THAT YOU MAY DECLARE THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO CALLED YOU OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.”
When Queen Esther’s influential cousin Mordecai told her about the genocide on the horizon, he urged and challenged her to do what she could to help save her people. And she did. Esther did not minimize her role – she did not back away from the incredible danger and the evil darkness that threatened to completely envelop the Persian Empire. Even though Esther knew she would have to disclose her true identity as a Jew to her husband, the King who had decreed the death of all Jews, Esther was willing, if necessary, to lay down her life attempting to save others. Needless to say, the story has a positive, inspiring ending, which I won’t summarize here – but if you need a refresher, you might want to go back and read the book of Esther.
Once again, fast forward from the days of Esther to these perilous times in the early years of the 21st century in which you and I live. Given the royal positions we have been given by God in his kingdom, as heirs of his kingdom, there are many ways in which we might DECLARE THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO CALLED US OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.
As we mature in Christ, and as God continues to perfect each of us as his workmanship, we are able to DECLARE THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO CALLED US and reflect the light of Jesus Christ that shines in our lives by God’s grace to our friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.
More specifically, as Friends and Partners of the collective, ongoing and worldwide work of CWR/PTM, we have the priceless privilege of working together, pooling our resources, doing more together than any one of us might accomplish on our own. Through the many media ministries of CWR/PTM, we join forces as an effective team in God’s hands during SUCH A TIME AS THIS to produce, publish, broadcast and proclaim, DECLARING THE PRAISES OF HIM WHO CALLED YOU AND ME OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.
We must not be silent in the face of horrendous evil and hatred. As we see encroaching darkness all over this world, we realize a heightened urgency to pass on the grace that God has given us. Rather than burying the wonderful light of Jesus, we declare the praises of God, his love, his mercy and his grace. We must not be silent, but rather join forces to pay forward a Christ-centered, grace-based message that God can use to rescue many from the perilous spiritual predicaments in which they are trapped and to which they are enslaved.
Think of CWR/PTM as a ship, on a journey, with a mission. We all play a part. There are many parts of a ship which, if they tried to be effective and make progress on their own, would sink. The massive engines would sink. The propeller would sink. But when individual parts are joined together, in unity within the superstructure of a ship, they float. Joined together they cannot only float but move forward, make progress, and go places they would never go on their own.
Horace Mann was a politician and later a college president who has been called the “father of American public education.” Mann was devoted to training teachers, building schools and providing education for all children, regardless of their parents’ social or religious standing. In his fifties he became president of Antioch College in Ohio, where he often inspired, motivated and challenged students with a statement that later became the college motto:
Be Ashamed to Die Until You Have Won Some Victory for Humanity.
As you read these words, candidates from two political parties are involved in a fever-pitched political battle for the presidency of the United States. We are being urged to vote for them, because they believe they and their party will change the world. No they won’t! While there are times when politicians and political parties change the direction of life as it is experienced in a particular locale, politicians and political parties do not change the world. Jesus has changed the world with his kingdom, and he will fully transform this world at his Second Coming. Our focus is on the true world-changer – Jesus.
If you want to help change the world, then follow Jesus. If you want to truly help change the world, then be involved in his kingdom on this earth – right now! If you want to impact the world in a positive way, support a Christ-centered, grace-based ministry that promotes Jesus. Jesus HAS changed the world – Jesus IS changing the world – and one day Jesus WILL completely transform this world.
Our world today is in desperate need of men and women like you and me who will acknowledge the need for a Christ-centered ministry that declares the praises of God – men and women who are willing to stand together and share the royal, God-given gifts they have been given FOR A TIME SUCH AS THIS.
May God continue to bless each and every one of you, so that we can collectively continue to grow in powerfully impacting the world, declaring the praises of God, who has called us out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
Your brother in Christ, co-worker and team member in our collective work of proclaiming the gospel and declaring his praises,