Recently I was talking with a pastor friend about church life in the south back in the 70’s and 80’s. In those days, the cultural trends that we see today were in their infancy and there was still a fairly widespread cultural agreement on right and wrong, the Bible, and a host of other issues. In those days, people who were far from Christ often sought out the church. You could announce revival services and people who needed Christ would come and be saved. In those days, many families ordered their lives around faithfulness to the church. There was no little league sports on Sundays, very little travel ball, and movie theaters even had limited showings on Sundays. In those days, many churches even had very robust Sunday evening services with a full house and decisions made on Sunday nights. In those days, people were receptive to home visits and it wasn’t uncommon for churches to have huge numbers of their members on a weeknight for “outreach” to make visits in the homes of their community.
As we were having that conversation, I jokingly said, “I would have loved to have been a pastor during those days.” We both laughed and then moved on in our talk. However, the Lord brought conviction to me about that statement recently as I read the book of Esther in my personal devotion.
The book of Esther is about God’s people at a perilous time in their history. It was written after what is known as the Babylonian captivity during the early 400’s B.C. before what is called the second return under Ezra. You can study the background of the book on your own, but suffice it to say that God’s people were in great danger due to the plotting of a man named Haman. He sought nothing less than the extermination of God’s people and it looked like it was going to happen.
However, there was a lady there named Esther. She was an orphan who grew up among the Jewish exiles in Persia. In His providence, God had moved her into a strategic position; King Ahasuerus had made her queen. That’s right, Esther went from an orphan slave girl to queen. However, it was no accident that she was there. During this time of great danger for God’s people, Esther had a conversation with her uncle, Mordecai, about the situation they were facing. It was then that Mordecai made one of the most famous statements in the Bible…
“…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Es 4:14).
Mordecai was saying to Esther, “God has you at this place at this time to use you greatly.” And he was exactly right! God used Esther to save the Jewish people and the promises of God kept right on being fulfilled. Even though I had read this passage many times over the years, it took on fresh relevance for me – indeed for every pastor and every Christian alive today. God has us where we are at this time in history to serve His purpose and plan.
Yes, most of us can remember easier, more pleasant days. However, our Lord has seen fit to give us life in these days. Therefore, we are called to serve His purpose and His plan in these days. God has us here for a reason. This time is our time. We can spend our time and energy pining for easier days or we can put our hand to the plow and go forward in faithfulness.
This time is our time. Now is the time to make disciples. Now is the time to share the Gospel. Now is the time to model Biblical marriage. Now is the time pray. Now is the time to have a church. Now is the time to disciple our children. Now is the time to be salt and light. Now is the time to lead.
This time is our time. Let’s not wish for another time.