I often find myself praying, sometimes out loud, as I walk by myself across the building where I work to attend a meeting. Sometimes this is nothing more than acknowledging that God is always present with me. David writes in Psalm 139:1-12 that there is no place he can go that is outside the presence of God. He expresses that wherever he goes, to the farthest points vertically or horizontally, God is there.
When I pray, I sometimes find myself praising God that I am exactly where he has placed me to be. I frequently get sweet glimpses of how God graciously uses me at work to fulfill his divine purposes. On one occasion, I thought about Esther, who was reminded by her relative at a critical moment in Jewish history that she was providentially placed where she was “for such a time as this” (Est. 4:14).
Quite naturally, I thought to myself that I am also in my current job for such a time as this. I then used my sanctified imagination to meditate for a moment about how I might want to teach this passage to a large group of college students. However, it occurred to me that I might sound prideful when I applied this Scripture to myself, that God had somehow placed me at my job for a critical moment. I just had to wonder, “Am I thinking too highly of myself?” The Apostle Paul sternly commanded the church in Rome to avoid prideful thoughts, but instead, think “with sound judgment” (Rom. 12:3, NASB).
And yet, my thoughts remained. Even though my story would most likely not be preserved for generations to come, and even though the work that I did here in this job might not change the course of history, there is still something of value to reflect on. More importantly, there is an application from this passage for each one of us. I know that this narrative is not just about Esther. It is about the God who reveals his covenantal love and faithfulness towards his chosen people. Since he is the same God today, he will do the same with his children who are ready, willing, and able to be used.
Let me briefly summarize what happened to Esther in the Old Testament book that is named after her.
When Esther is informed about a secret plot to eliminate the exiled Jewish people in the land, her uncle Mordecai tries to persuade her to boldly intervene and speak to the king on their behalf. He knows that God will inevitably deliver his people as he has always done with or without her. But because she was chosen by the king to be his queen, Mordecai makes a bold statement that is the central point of the story: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this” (Est. 4:14).
The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary indicates, “Esther implicitly teaches God’s providential care of his people… The book implies that even when God’s people are far from him and disobedient, they are still the object of his concern and love, and that he is working out his purposes through them.”
The story of Esther has to do with destiny. She was placed in a royal position for a divine purpose: to be used by God to protect, preserve, and provide for his chosen people in exile. God did not need her to act. Mordecai pointed out that God would do this with or without her help. However, God chose to use her as his coworker to speak up. Perhaps Esther needed to give some thought as to why she was there at that critical moment in time and place with the opportunity to make a significant contribution.
This scene reminds me of the first Spiderman movie, where Uncle Ben reminds Peter, “With great power comes great responsibility.” All kidding aside, this is a solid biblical concept. It is called stewardship. When God gives us something of value, whether it be money, talent, or opportunity, we need to use it wisely. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Lk. 12:48).
In my experience, I have seen God use his children in mighty ways. For instance, I have seen him use my wife over many years as a leader and mentor in the chapel women’s ministry on the military post where I work. She volunteered to step up to the plate to allow God to use her to minister to dozens of young and middle-aged Army wives since she spent twenty years of her life as an Army spouse.
Another illustration comes from the job I have held for the past 14 years. I know that God has called me and enabled me to do a variety of tasks that contribute in small ways to this country’s defense. What I do eight hours a day enables senior leaders to do their jobs more effectively, making our Army a little stronger, which allows all citizens to experience peace (shalom) in this great Nation. For example, in 2018, I clearly saw God work in me as his servant to be instrumental in the planning, preparation, and execution of a week-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the U. S. Army Chemical Corps.
Just because the impact of what we do in our jobs might not be as great in magnitude as Esther’s act of speaking up for the Jewish people when she had the chance, that doesn’t lessen its lasting significance. Just because God could do what he wanted to do without your cooperation, doesn’t mean you can opt-out.
So, let me ask you: If God, in his mercy and grace, chose to place one of his precious daughters into a job where she would have the opportunity to be God’s coworker to bring about his will to be “done on earth as it is in heaven,” could he not do the same with you in the position that you have today?
Have you ever thought about the divine purposes that God may have in mind when he guided you to find, apply for, and get offered the position that you currently have? Why has God placed you there?
Are you there to speak out against injustice? Are you there to bring light into a dark place? Do you have opportunities to demonstrate God’s mercy and grace that are found in Jesus to those who do not attend church? Is there someone you are pouring your life into for the sake of the Kingdom of God?
I challenge you to think about your job from now on with a new perspective. Look for clues as to the divine purposes that God may have for you. Perhaps he has put you there for such a time as this.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from the author’s personal blog. Republished with permission.