By Chuck Griffin
I am moving toward a sermon this Sunday that has been stirring in my heart for some time. It will be based on Luke 9:51-62, the story of Jesus resolutely heading toward Jerusalem to do what must be done.
I want to focus my two Methodist Life devotions this week on ideas that will come out in the sermon. Today, I want to go back to a particular moment in the story of Esther—I hope you’ve already taken time to click the above link and read the fourth chapter of that Old Testament book.
In short, the Jews seemed doomed, destined for slaughter by a powerful enemy. But through a miraculous set of what humans call coincidences, a Jewish woman became queen of the dominant Persian empire. In terms of power, she was not much more than a crowned concubine, but she did have direct access to the king—assuming he was agreeable to her presence.
Her uncle told her she must do something to save her people, but her hesitancy and fear were obvious. Then she heard the obvious question, the words that stirred her to action: “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
Most of us have a hard time imagining ourselves in such a situation, but I think these moments arise for us more often than we might guess—perhaps at least once in a lifetime?
We find ourselves comfortable and content. We don’t want to be bothered by what looks to be a massive personal complication. And yet, we are where we are because God has been preparing us and positioning us for an important moment.
The moment arrives. Do we lie back as if our God-granted situation is a comfortable hammock, or do we stand alert and ready, saying to God, “I am in place. What would you have me do now so that your will is done?”
None of this is theoretical right now for Methodists. Certainly not as Scripture is being compromised, and certainly not as ministry assets developed by our very orthodox-minded Methodist ancestors are threatened.
I am not speaking to so-called progressives. They are who they are, and it’s unlikely that anything I might say would move them.
I do speak to conservative, scripturally sound thinkers in the United Methodist Church, particularly those who have risen to comfortable, well-paying positions of power and influence—people prepared by God for particular tasks.
With courage, a little creative thinking and the proper application of grace, you could quickly end the conflict we are experiencing. I have no doubt God placed you where you are for such a time as this.
Lord, move the hearts of the right people. May the great gift of the scriptural movement we call Methodism once again bless your kingdom in its unique ways. Amen.