Making the Most of Opportunities

by Pastor Mark Shupe

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

The above quote comes from one of my favorite books in the Bible – Esther. The book tells the amazing story of a young Jewish woman who made the most of an opportunity that led to the preservation of all Jews living in the region.

The story takes place during the reign of King Ahasuerus, the King of Persia, who ruled from India to Ethiopia (127 provinces). After King Ahasuerus removes Queen Vashti for her refusal to obey his summons, a massive search throughout the region is made for a new Queen. Of all the eligible women, Esther is chosen as the next Queen of Persia.

To say that Esther was an unlikely choice would be a great understatement. Esther was an orphan (raised by her cousin Mordecai) and an outcast (a Jew living in a Gentile world) who possessed no royal heritage. However, she was “beautiful of form and face” (Esther 2:7) and she “found favor in the eyes of all who saw her” (Esther 2:15) including King Ahasuerus who chooses her as his Queen.

Not long after becoming Queen, Esther is made aware of an evil plot by Haman (the King’s right-hand man) to get the King to issue an order for the destruction of all the Jews in the region. The only person who could possibly get the King to stop the killing of the Jews was Queen Esther. Through a series of shrewd and risky acts by Esther, her people are eventually saved.

Two lessons for today stand out from this great story.

Find Favor with Others

Esther “found favor in the eyes of all who saw her,” a phrase that literally means lifting up grace before the face of others. Wouldn’t that be a great epitaph on your tombstone? How wonderful it would be to be remembered as a person who reflected the grace of God to others.

In the current polarizing position of our country over politics, masks and racial tensions, we can show forth the grace, kindness, gentleness and love of Christ in how we relate to others no matter what viewpoint they espouse.

The following instruction is given in Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”  Under our masks, we can choose to speak words that build others up and that offer mercy, compassion and understanding. In so doing, we will lift up grace before others.

Make the Most of Your Opportunities

As Esther contemplated her personal risk of going unsummoned to the King on behalf of her people (this could have resulted in her death), Mordecai speaks these powerful words to her (Esther 4:14) – “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Mordecai believed God had sovereignly placed Esther as Queen of Persia to be in a position to save the Jews and make a lasting difference.

A good question to ponder is “How has God sovereignly positioned you today to make a lasting difference in the lives of others?” Where has God uniquely placed you to be the salt and light of the world? Recognize His placement and choose to make the most of that divine opportunity!

I love the words of American author and clergyman Edward Everett Hale:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything; but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”  

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