Being on the inside of a situation doesn’t always give us the best vantage point for viewing a situation. I realized this again this past Sunday as I studied through Esther, Chapter 4 for my teen Sunday School class. When it came to the attack on the Jewish people devised by Haman, the King’s right hand man; Mordecai, who was on the outside, knew more than Esther, who was on the inside as the King’s wife. Esther was no doubt busy doing what Queen’s do. Mordecai was out with the people. My thought was this, “In order to understand the heart of God’s people, you have to spend time with them, and really listen…” In ministering to God’s people, or in the day to day of life, it’s very easy to look on the situation and speak from a personal perspective rather than from the person’s perspective to whom we’re speaking too.
How is it that we can best serve those in our church and in our lives?
The Town Crier and the Town Critics
Ester 4:1 ~ When Mordecai perceived all that was done, Mordecai rent his clothes, and put on sackcloth with ashes, and went out into the midst of the city, and cried with a loud and a bitter cry;
Mordecai went very public with his outcry. There is a time to be silent, but there is definitely a time to cry aloud. And as church leaders we should be looking for the lead town crier. That’s usually not the one crying the loudest. Most churches have the person or persons that finds it their personal responsibility to point out every flaw in every service, those would be the “Town Critics.” But there will always be a few who, if they cry, it is a cry worthy one. For those on the inside of ministry it’s very easy to make it personal. We put so much time and effort into an event and then to have someone tear it apart because it wasn’t to their liking is heartbreaking. I have worn that tee shirt many times. I’ve also deserved it a few. Because I wasn’t listening.
Mordecai mourned because he was anticipating the death of his people if action wasn’t taken. His was in the very literal sense of the world. Haman wanted to annihilate the Jewish people. He hated them. But for those of us who serve the Lord, we love our people! Even those who don’t necessarily like us. So we must position ourselves to hear their cry.
The Town Calmer
Esther 4:4 ~ So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.
Esther tried to soothe Mordecai’s fears by covering him with new raiment but he refused. Covering up his body wouldn’t remove the vexation from his spirit. He needed Esther to act, not cover. Words are wonderful! I love the spoken and the written word, but it they’re not attached to an action by the deliverer and receiver, they’re of very little purpose. We must act on what we hear and what we hear should bring a call to action.
The Total Conviction
Mordecai finally got through to Esther on the seriousness of the threat against God’s people. Esther genuinely listened, but not until Mordecai had given her a copy of the decree of death for the Jews, and not without words of his own that convicted her too.
Esther 4:13-17 ~ Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
Esther knew what she had to do. She had to speak to the King on behalf of her people, even if it meant she die. Well, that’s a little more dramatic than most of the situations in our life. But I gleaned a valuable lesson as a leader and as one who’s being lead. We must take care of those we’ve been called to minister too and for. Our messages should be messages that are for “such a time as this.” They should convict and call every listener to action. Mordecai wasn’t complaining to call attention to himself, he was calling people to action for his cause. He didn’t want his people to perish… nor do I.
My words… anyone’s words who share the gospel should be what the people need. And when they’re delivered there should be a conviction and a call to action.
If Esther hadn’t accepted her call to action, God’s people would have perished. I fear that’s what’s happening in the churches. We need messages that convict. Our cause is cry worthy!
I’ll not complain when the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit bring unexplainable and unspeakable joys in my life for my service through the studying of His Word and the sharing of the Gospel. That is a gift of unmeasurable worth! But through the coercing of others in the ministry, who see my work as worthy, and the coercing of the Holy Spirit Who says “Through His blood I am worthy,” I have added a ministry donation button to this site. If you do not have, or do not feel inclined to give, then please don’t feel obligated. But if I have encouraged you and the Spirit speaks, your gift of any amount would be appreciated and honored by God.
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