Tuesday, August 6, 2002
Several years ago, we took a delegation of teenagers to a youth conference at the Jersey Shore. Our friend Jamie was one of the counselors. One evening she left the meeting early to check on one of the kids from our group. She started walking down the Boardwalk when she heard this cry for help from the water down below. She ran down to the beach, and she realized that a girl was out there in that dark ocean about to drown. So Jamie yelled for others to come, and she pulled off her shoes and she jumped into the water. She knew this was a life-or-death situation, and she said, "I just had to do something." Pretty soon a couple of men jumped in to help and together they were able to rescue that young woman. And Jamie realized the real reason she had been out on the Boardwalk that night. Much to her surprise, she had been placed there to save a life!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Surprising Reason You Are Where You Are."
Now our word for today from the Word of God comes from the amazing story of Esther, which is told in the book in the Bible that carries her name. Esther was a young Jewish woman who was in Persia as a part of the Jews who had been brought there when the Persians conquered her people. But through an amazing series of events, she became the Queen of Persia, the wife of the most powerful man in the world, but no one knew she was a Jew.
When a power-mad member of the king's court engineered this royal decree to have the Jews annihilated, the man who raised Esther sent her a message, challenging her to use her access to the king to save her people. To do so, she would literally have to risk her life because the law required that anyone who came to the king uninvited - even the queen - would be put to death unless the king extended his golden scepter to spare them. And Esther hadn't been summoned by the king for a month.
The challenge Esther received is in our word for today from the Word of God, Esther 4:14, and it may very well be the challenge that our Savior has for you at this point in your life. Here it is. "Who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?" In other words, God has placed you where you are, not just to enjoy the benefits of your position, but to save lives! Have you considered that maybe that's the same reason you've been positioned where you are?
You work where you work, you live where you live, you go to school where you go to school, you do what you do because God has assigned you there - to be those people's link to Jesus!
Some years ago, my friend Gary was talking with a woman whose dad teaches at one of America's military academies. This woman was really spiritually burdened for her dad. Gary knows a lot of influential people and he offered to call the then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to invite her dad to an upcoming adult outreach. "Or," he said, "I'll even call a Christian cabinet member I know in the administration." But to my friend's surprise, this woman said, "No, that won't work." Gary asked her what would work - who could get through to her father. Her answer? "Another professor. Someone like him."
See, that's probably how the people around you are going to be reached for Christ - through someone who does what they do, lives where they live, faces what they face. And for the people around you, that would be you.
I don't know what you think of when I say the word "evangelist" - probably someone preaching on a crusade platform - but I hope you'll start to think of the man or woman in the mirror. Of all His millions of children, you are the one God has positioned to rescue the people around you.
Like a young woman near the ocean that night, like that Jewish girl placed in a strategic spot, you've been placed where you are to save someone who is dying - eternally if they die without Christ. You're not there just to enjoy your spot - you're there to save lives!