Esther and Mordecai
There was once a child of a wealthy European family that became gravely ill. This family, fortunately, had access to the best medical care in the world, however, the doctors said they could do nothing for him. The only thing left to do was send the child home to die. Unbeknownst to the parents, employed in their home was a maid who was familiar with holistic remedies, and believed in the God who answers prayer. Seeing the parents anguished state, she sympathetically shared her desire to help and suggested the use of hydrotherapy, dietary changes, and prayer. Feeling that they had nothing to lose, the parents agreed. Initially, progress was slow, and at times they felt as if they were wasting their time. But at the maid's gentle encouragement and under her skilled hands, the child began to improve, and thus the parents allowed her to continue with the treatments. Over the course of a year, their son fully recovered. Filled with gratitude, his mother accepted Christ as her Savior and became a Seventh Day Adventist. His father, however, who was a nominal Catholic, did not. As a result of the religious conflict in his home, the child pursued his own way, but his mother's prayers prevailed. In answer to her prayers, the son not only became a Christian Seventh Day Adventist but preached to thousands of the mercy and love of God. This story serves to illustrate how God used a simple maid whom He placed in an affluent home in order to reach not only an entire family, Yes!, however, more specifically, a sickly child who one day would be empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the Gospel around the globe. In other words, God used a maid to be a missionary, at the right time, to the Rich, Authoritative, and the Influential.
The idea of reaching this category of the rich, authoritative and influential, is not new, and was dealt with in a previous quarterly, titled, "Making Disciples". For many weeks, the lesson's title was how to "Disciple the …" This was true of all but two categories, the "Rich & Famous" and "the Powerful & Influential." Thus, the sad and unfortunate impression was given that these groups of individuals are not "disciple-able." The Bible clearly says otherwise and the lesson itself offered several examples of many such who converted to Christianity. In addition, Ellen White in Christ Object Lessons refers to this group as the Highways: the wealthy, the teachers and leaders of the people, and those who are in business and high positions or ranks of society. She continues by saying there is a work to be done for this group. Because they too often trust in their riches and sense no danger, they need to be awakened to their responsibility as those entrusted with the gifts of Heaven.
Often people in these positions are difficult to reach, not as a result of hard-heartedness, but because they aren't easily accessible, have time constraints and are accustomed to dealing with others based on agendas, hidden or otherwise.
Interestingly, although this quarter deals with Bible characters being missionaries, thus far the examples of the mission field have been of those who are rich, powerful and influential. This is contrary to our view of mission today. We often only think of the byways and hedges needing missionary work-- those in abject poverty and in dire conditions. But, in the Bible the first missionaries were sent to the rich and powerful. This week's missionary is no exception.
Thus far, we have studied Abraham, who witnessed to the kings of his day. We also observed Joseph and Moses witness to the Pharaoh of Egypt as well as the unnamed captive girl of Israel who witnessed about Gods character and that of his prophet Elisha to the wealthy and powerful of Syria. Jonah, the reluctant prophet-missionary preached a message of destruction for three days in Nineveh, but the King heard the message and repented. Then, we have Daniel and his three friends, who as part of the Babylonian court witnessed to King Nebuchadnezzar. Furthermore, God also used Daniel to witness to the Medo-Persian Kings: Darius and Cyrus.
Therefore, it is not surprising that when a crisis arose in the land of Persia, the Lord sent someone to reach King Ahasuerus. This man had in his power the fate of the people who lived in his land. Hence, the importance of reaching him to influence his mind and heart, not only to save the Jewish nation but that the knowledge of the true God would become known. This reveals how much those in power and authority, as well as those surrounding them, need our intercession.
These stories, along with that of Esther and Mordecai reveal that God chooses His missionaries according to His prerogative. Who would this powerful king listen to? The Lord sent a woman from an enslaved race of people. God, Himself, orchestrated a way of making her queen. Our lesson states that at the appropriate time… Esther prepared to go before the King, without His having called her – an act that risked her life, as part of a plan to foil Haman's plot. The king admitted her and accepted her invitation to dine. By the Grace of God, Esther was enabled to plead on behalf of her nation. Ellen White elaborates,
"Through Esther the queen the Lord accomplished a mighty deliverance for His people. At a time when it seemed that no power could save them, Esther and the women associated with her, by fasting and prayer and prompt action, met the issue, and brought salvation to their people…." Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1140.
Ellen White's admonition is to each of us. Most of us will not be called into prominence, but all of us have an important part to act in our humble positions. Besides, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much." (Luke 16:10). Those whom God calls into prominence have been faithful in the least. Nevertheless, the words of Mordecai to Esther apply to you, wherever you are, "Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14). Wherever God has you is your mission field whether it is in affluence or in poverty. Only in eternity, will we know the full effect of our collaboration with the Lord.