By Luke Holmes
When we were newly married my wife and I moved to Texas to serve at a church that had a difficult past.
They had split several times, but I was sure I was the man to lead them toward a stable future. I was young enough (and dumb enough) to think that I could be the one to straighten them out.
It’s sufficient to sum up that time of my life by saying things didn’t really go well.
There were fights, pressures, and even vandalism of the parsonage. It only got worse from there.
While we were going through those trials, I had someone in the church tell me “You’ve really taught me how to suffer well.” I had been praying for God to use me in that place, but that’s not really what I had in mind.
I appreciate the sentiment of my friend but that’s not really what I want to be known for. It’s easier to be known for handling big budgets well or being down to earth despite being incredibly famous.
Teaching people to suffer well was pretty far down my list. I learned hard lessons during that time.
But looking back at it almost 20 years later I’m reminded of a critical truth: We don’t get to pick the time and the place God plans for us to leave a mark.
The words of advice that Mordecai gave to his niece in the book of Esther are well known. As the Jewish race faces annihilation he tells her that God has put her in that palace for a reason.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14
As we stand in the middle of a momentous time in history those words are a good reminder that God always has a plan for our lives.
But it’s also good to remember the lesson I had to learn at a difficult church. We don’t get to choose the time and place that God will use us.
Anyone who has served as a leader of group or church—big or small—has been faced with all types of choices that were unfathomable a year ago.
It’s tempting to think we would like to lead during a less contentious time. But God is the one who chooses when and where He will use us.
We all want to be someone important. We might be that person who stands like Esther and make a dramatic mark in history. But most of us won’t.
Most of us are called by God to live in this moment just like Esther, but our calling might be to the small moments and not the grand gestures.
We’re drawn to the well known people in the Bible—like Moses, David, Paul, Peter, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. But we can’t forget that God has called us to this moment, not theirs.
It’s tempting for preachers and church leaders to look at Esther and then say, “God will elevate you to just the place you need to be.”
The main point of Esther is not the elevation to status but the glory of God displayed through even pagan nations.
Yes, God has plans for queens and kings, presidents and senators. But the rest of the story of Esther—and the rest of the Bible—reminds us that this promise is not just for kings and queens, but simply for everyone.
We are drawn to the big characters in the story: The young queen thrust into the spotlight, the shepherd boy who becomes king, the reluctant recluse who stands up to Pharaoh.
We tell ourselves that that will be us someday. Someday we will be asked to do something big for God, and in that moment we will be ready. We’re all willing—hoping—to do something big for God.
But are we willing to do something small for God? Are we willing to daily put ourselves into the will of God to be used wherever we find ourselves?
We might not stand before kings to speak the truth, but we’ll have to stand before our families and churches.
Is God any less in those small moments than in the big ones?
Our “for such a time as this” is not just for big grand moments when life is on the line. It’s for a mother changing diapers, a father teaching his son to be a man.
“For such a time as this” is for grandparents who raise grandkids as their own, for a Sunday School teacher in a class with one kid, and for a prayer meeting with two people.
“For such a time as this” is true for giant gleaming churches in the big cities where titans of industry have Bible studies with politicians and influencers.
And it’s true for small, rural churches on dirt roads where farmers teach Sunday School. It’s true for all of us.
“For such a time as this” applies to the famous and the forgotten, for the important and the insignificant, the noble and the normal.
No matter what level of importance you perceive yourself to be, you’re here for such a time as this.
LUKE HOLMES (@lukeholmes) is husband to Sara, father to three young girls, and pastor at First Baptist Church Tishomingo, Oklahoma, since 2011. He’s a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and can be found online at LukeAHolmes.com.