For Such a Time as This
Within a month I will be celebrating my 60th birthday – and that’s difficult to believe. It seems like just yesterday that I was a young boy – in fact, I remember way back to the times that I used to sit in the upstairs bathroom watching my Dad shave each morning – all the while trying to convince him that 1+1=11. I know that sounds goofy today, but back then, I was dead serious, and very, very young…
As I look back on my life, I can see evidence of the twists and turns that were part of God’s divine plan for me. For example, the fact that I wanted to be a surgeon but Dad was diagnosed with cancer and I couldn’t go on to Northwestern for my medical school work. Instead, I entered the business world and learned to sell. Eventually, the family company became rather successful but I didn’t appreciate the effort that it took to be good at what I did. What I mean is, and my father-in-law, John, pointed it out to me, I had been lucky as a young businessman – not necessarily very good.
Eventually, I did get better at what I did to earn a living. But something was missing – I never loved what I did. I worked out of family obligation but never looked forward to the morning and the day ahead. Since I had never known anything different, I didn’t give it much thought. Work was exactly that – something that you did to be able to enjoy the times that you weren’t working. And believe me, I felt guilty if I enjoyed the things that I did during the work day. Work wasn’t meant to be fun – at least that’s what I was taught. You did what you had to do to take care of the family and make sure that you could pay the bills.
It was with that skewed sense of purpose that I lived most of my corporate career. Sure, I could earn the money that we needed, but I found that I indulged myself in more expensive and elaborate hobbies to keep my mind occupied – after all, remember, I never loved what I did in the corporate world. Luckily, I was good at it – just not enjoying it.
When I finally got up the courage, I left the corporate world and entered seminary. Mind you, I’m not an early morning person, and it is true that I almost quit on my first day of class, but after three weeks, I was loving it and never looked back. It was scary, but there was no question about my calling to be there. Years later, after graduation, I thought I would get a church and that would be the end of that. Apparently, that wasn’t God’s plan – I never got an offer for a church but kept getting pushed back into the corporate world. That wasn’t my plan… but I did get to work with some of the greatest surgeons and engineers in the world – and I couldn’t help but remember my college days and thoughts of medical school.
I learned an important thing during those days after seminary. And that was to trust God. Because He had a plan for me and I didn’t need to know what it was – just the next step. In the ten years since I earned my first graduate degrees, I have spent my time predominantly in the business world. I learned that God places us in unique situations – using our past experiences and God given talents to advance the kingdom wherever we can be of the most use. And He always puts us in jobs for which we are uniquely qualified.
For the past several years, I have been fulfilled in ways that I never thought possible. My experience and faith in God have combined to be more rewarding that I ever dreamed. And in that respect, I an not unlike Esther in the Bible. She was a Jewish girl who ended up becoming a Queen. And when the people of God were about to be annihilated, Esther’s cousin Mordecai challenged her to approach her husband, the king, and seek his favor. She did this on behalf of the Jewish nation and similar to the way I felt, she was afraid. However, she took up the cause and became the vehicle through which God saved His people. I’ll bet she never thought her life would take the twists and turns that it did.
Much like my own life, God used Esther in unique and remarkable ways. In my case, it hasn’t even included a pastorate in a church, at least not yet… But I have to share with you that the things I learned in seminary have served me well in the corporate world. Strange, isn’t it?
The verse for this evening is the famous verse from the book of Esther, spoken to her by Mordecai. In Esther 4:14, we are told, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” In other words, the will and plan of God will not be denied. He will accomplish his goal. The key is to have faith that God has a place for you in the mix and who would want to miss that blessing? That’s exactly how I feel with the work that I do now! And I can hardly wait to see what miracles God is going to perform next…
My encouragement this evening is that God has something special for you to do as well. It may not even be close to what you think it will be, but I assure you that your training and prior life experiences will factor into God’s plan. My prayer is that God will use you in remarkable and miraculous ways to accomplish his will. And believe me, I can tell you from personal experience that you don’t want to miss it. Because God’s blessing is beyond your wildest comprehension. When you finally reach your God given assignment, it just doesn’t get any better than that. At least that’s what I found… So that’s it for this evening. The truth is, I have to get to bed – after all, I can’t wait for morning to see what miracles I get to be a part of tomorrow.
Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…