For Such a Time as This....
by Dr. Ken Matto
(Est 4:14 KJV) For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Our verse comes from the story in the book of Esther where Mordecai comes to her and basically lays it on the line. Haman had plotted to kill all the Jews and now Mordecai had informed Esther that she was to go into the king and tell him of the wicked plot of Haman’s. In ancient Persia, if anyone approached the king without an invitation and he did not hold out the scepter to them, they would be executed. Well, Esther asked Mordecai to proclaim a three day fast and she told him that she would go in to see the king and if she perished, she perished. Esther did go in and see the king but he held out the scepter to her and was received by him. Esther was warned by Mordecai that just because she was the queen, her being a Jew, she would also perish in the pogrom of Haman. Esther was facing a tremendous situation. She could have either died by the hand of the king or by the hand of Haman’s henchmen.
Esther’s position would not have protected her and she knew it. Therefore, Esther did her part to save her people and she was successful. Instead of concerning herself with what could have happened to her, she instead, stepped up and did what she could. This story is a great cudgel for those Christians who have chosen to live a lazy life. Just recently I have been pondering the following question, “Has Christianity become a religion of words?” What I mean by that is that we seem to be overly concerned with the knowledge aspect of Christianity rather than the practical aspect of putting into practice what we already know. There are many Christians out there who seem to be stuck in a rut of intellectualism, that is, they just want to learn, learn, learn and never do.
Last year when the second season of The Apprentice was down to the final four, one of the contestants had literally bragged about the schools that he attended. He attended top business schools and was presently in Law School, yet, he did not know what he wanted to do. Here was a man at the age of twenty nine who was still a student and yet had not gone to work. This man was continually learning and putting nothing of that knowledge to work. Donald Trump fired him because he had no idea what he wanted to do. This is the same problem with many Christians. Instead of us looking for the area that God has empowered us to work, we seem to settle into the lifestyle of the permanent student. This would not be bad except for one thing. What good is consistent learning if you do nothing with what you learn?
The Bible gives us a great principle in that area. (James 2:20 KJV) But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? There are millions of Christians in this country but where are they all when it comes to putting into practice what they have learned? Why do Pastors in good churches have to beg Christians to get involved, even in small tasks? There was a saying going around some years ago that 10% of all the Christians do 90% of all the work. After being a Christian for 24 years, I would amend those numbers that 5% of the Christians do 100% of the work. This is a very sad indictment. I lay part of the blame for this on church leadership which gets people to join and then tells them to sit down, give your donations, and shut up. In my experience, I have heard very little encouragement from pulpits for Christians to get seriously involved in Christian work. For the majority of the times what I heard were things like come and dust the pews or vacuum the sanctuary. Instead of telling Christians that they are to be missionaries and evangelists right where God has placed them, they are discouraged from doing that type of work unless they get 10 years of Bible College and Seminary. This is nowhere found in Scripture but what is found in Scripture is the following verse. (Acts 4:13 KJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
The word “unlearned” in the above verse carries with it the meaning of “illiterate.” The Sadducees had seen that these men never spent a day in any learning of the Law, yet they seemed to have knowledge above and beyond their social position. Adding to this thought is the word “ignorant” which carries with it the meaning of “untrained, amateur, or unskilled in speaking.” Yet the same verse contains the word “boldness” which carries with it the meaning of “confidence.” Here we see Peter and John who were not schooled and who were untrained, having confidence in the message they were bringing. This type of message needs to be understood by Christians that you do not need to be trained in a school. If you have the King James Bible, you have the Word of God and that Word of God gives you the confidence to bring the message of salvation. When you became saved, you were made part of the army of God and you became a witness of the grace of God with the biblical knowledge that you have possessed thus far.
Did Peter and John wait many years before they went into action? The answer is no, when they received the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, they were out there witnessing in no time. As Christians, we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation, which means that you are already empowered to be a witness. It may be some time before you know what your life’s ministry will be but from the moment of salvation, you are to be a hearer of the word along with being a doer. It is a shame that many do nothing because they feel unqualified to get involved. This is where you must bypass the lazy Christians in the church who try to get you to become lazy like them. They do this to appease their laziness. Instead of getting involved with you, they draw you into their lazy web. Avoid these at all cost. They are detrimental to your Christian walk. (Prov 18:9 KJV) He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
The Proverbs verse teaches us that laziness cause great waste. When we realize that we have wasted our lives in doing nothing, we will become ashamed of ourselves. Just because someone tells you that you are not qualified to do something means nothing. You must make the assessment yourself. You may not be trained to run a business, but in the Lord’s work, you are to be about His business. The reason we are given the Holy Spirit is to empower us to get involved in the work of the Lord. You may not know much about the Bible, but if you live in a big city or close to one, you can buy 500 tracts and hand them out in a few hours. If you do that weekly, in one year that is 26,000 tracts handed out by you alone. Can you imagine if every church got a band of Christians together and went to the streets of their town and handed out tracts? Every city in the USA would be covered with the Gospel. This is what Peter and John did. They did not wait for approbation from some leaders, they just went out and preached and by preaching they were obeying the command of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mark 16:15 KJV) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
How many Christian parents have so much time to attend their children’s sporting events but give absolutely nothing to the Kingdom of God? They should tell (not ask their permission) their children that they are going to go to the streets with them to hand out tracts and evangelize. Too many parents think that getting their children involved in sports is giving them disciplines. How many coaches are preaching the Gospel? As Christians we are saved to serve the Lord and reproduce to bring others into the Kingdom. That requires sacrifice on our part. Many Christian parents sit down with their children and give them all kinds of future job options but how many include the service of the Lord?
We see Muslims on the streets, JW’s going door to door, Mormons on their bicycles and others all looking to bring people into their movements. What are the Christians doing? They are home on weekends taking care of their property giving the cults an audience instead of being on the streets giving them competition. A few years ago I did some driving for Avis and every car that I drove from station to station, I placed a tract in the glove compartment. Let me suggest this again. When you receive a postage paid reply envelope from some company, do you toss it or do you toss in a tract and mail it? Just think if every Christian in this country reached 1,000 people per year, then the USA would be evangelized. The problem is that Christians are not stepping up to the plate. Many think that going to church on Sunday is all that is required. Woe unto the church leaders who allow that mindset to remain in that church for any length of time without being challenged.
Let me remind those church leaders who may read this that the calling of other Christians may not be in the same realm, as your calling. Never hinder a Christian from following the ministry which God may be leading them to just bring them in line with your calling. Make sure you realize that your church does not revolve around you, but the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let me just conclude by going back to Esther who realized that she had to get involved and that social position does not insulate nor isolate a Christian from the reality of a hostile world. As Christians we will always be in the minority and that is why we need to remain vigilant in our Christian walk. If we become lazy, Satan wins! Period! Once a person becomes saved, Satan no longer has any hold on them but he can try to get us to be lazy. There is nothing that makes the enemy happier than to see an excuse-based Christian who will not get involved. There are no excuses for any Christian to sit on the sideline. When we see Peter and John getting out there and preaching on Pentecost, which typifies the day of salvation for every believer, because we receive the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation, then we must know that from the moment of salvation, we have been empowered to be witnesses. If we start our Christian walk involved, then we will stay involved, even if we develop physical problems. If we start out our Christian walk with excuses, then we will be an excuse-based person with no true spiritual reason of existence. Only you know where you are right now! (Titus 2:14 KJV) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
Sometimes I wonder if these articles are not adding to the overkill of information and helping keep people from getting out from behind their computers and doing the work of the Lord. (Eccl 12:12 KJV) And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Too much studying wearies the flesh and may sap whatever strength you had before you sat down to read. The summer is coming to the northern hemisphere and I hope that many Christians will hit the streets this summer with God’s Word. Wouldn’t it be nice if we inundated this country with the Gospel? It can be done! If we can’t, then be like the flowers in your garden, bloom where you are planted. (3/18/05)