This weekend marked the Jewish holiday called Purim. It is a time to celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from the ancient Persian Empire. Incidentally, the events of current day Israel could be somewhat similar as ancient Persia is current day Iran. And we all know how Iran would like nothing more than to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
If you want to read the entire story, you need go no further than the Book of Esther in the Bible for it is here that we read how a young girl, probably not too thrilled with what she had to do, mustered the courage of a thousand armies to stand up to her king(and husband) in order to save her people. Or , you could just watch the Veggie Tales version as it’s pretty close to the real story other than the fact that the king likes Esther to make sandwiches for him and we all know that “sandwiches” is just kid-code for …..well, marital submission and so on. 🙂
This holiday is a really good chance for all of us to consider the state of our world, the state of the Middle East and particularly, the state of Israel. It is a reminder that they still need our prayers. There is a plot and it is very real to eradicate every Jew and every Christian. The Bible commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and to hold her people up before the Lord. I challenge you to read the story of Esther and consider your own part in the present and future of Israel. We do have a part. We must be praying, giving, going. The times are short and there’s much to do in the way of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and praying for our brothers and sisters(in Christ) who are on the front lines.
In my own life, the intersection of God’s word and reality became coincidentally clear this weekend. Well, with God there really are no coincidences, are there? I was well aware of the holiday of Purim this weekend before I even got into the weekend. And wouldn’t you know, God was speaking to me about my very own involvement in His plans.
The church we are attending has been going through a healthy church consultation. A time where other pastors and leaders come in and help the board, pastor and other lay-leaders discover the strengths of the church and the areas where the church needs to get its collective rear in gear. (my interpretation ;))
The guest pastor who spoke Sunday morning was talking about the story in Matthew with the master, his servants and their bags of gold. The master is God, the servants are God’s people and the bags of gold is the resources, talents, gifts that God has given to us. I was particularly challenged because for many, many months we have not been using our gifts. Circumstances, moving and upheaval have made it hard. But really, those are excuses. Much like the servant who went and buried his bag of gold, I have buried my gifts and talents. I am saving them for a rainy day or some other moment that I have decided is more important than now. But when God gives us gifts, money, time, resources…he’s expecting us to use them. He’s expecting us to carry out HIS plan, not ours. His work is always going on and always needing workers and if we sit back and wait for someone else to do it, we are disobeying and the Bible is pretty clear what will happen…….it’s not good news, folks.
I had a 2 hour chat with a lady from the church yesterday. I am struggling with the lack of ministries and wondering where I fit in. She is on the other end…someone who’s been involved for years and feeling burnt out. We talked of teenagers, painting, husbands, houses, family, and all manner of things. And then she asked me something out of the blue..I was almost taken aback. She said, “Do you believe that God brought you here?” I fumbled and said…..”uhhhh, yes?” She then continued and said, “If you know that He brought you here then would you consider that He brought you here because we need you? Are you willing to admit that there’s a purpose for you being here right now?”
So, we have the story of Esther. We have the bags of gold and now I have a flat out question….
I’ll admit, we’re not thrilled with some of negative aspects of where we live. We miss the north. We miss knowing people and having friends. We are all struggling and feeling a bit out of place. But I will take all of that knowing that we are where God wants us. And maybe, just maybe he has us here…..for such a time as this.