We are familiar with the story of Esther in the Bible. Orphaned early in her life, Esther was destined to rise up from her circumstances to become a great influence over a king. Her story is about a simple young woman who was able to save one whole nation from perishing.
Women can make eternal differences, not only at home but also in our societies, churches, and nations too. To cite a few examples from our own country, we have Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, among others. During the days of the western missionary work in India, we had more women missionaries than men. Their contributions made huge differences for our country. It may be recalled that the Vellore Christian Medical College was first started through the pioneering work of a few women.
First, Esther took great risks. She was a Jewish girl and became the Queen of Persia during the reign of Ahasuerus. When her people were about to be annihilated, she did not think of saving her own skin but intervened and stood on their behalf. She went against the law of the land for the cause of saving her people. It must have taken great courage for her to go to the king without being summoned. The law demanded any person was to be put to death when he or she went to the king, into the inner courts, without being called.
Esther would not have risked her own life unless she had great concern for her people. It not only speaks of courage but also of faith. She fasted and probably prayed, asking all the Jews to do likewise. To have faith also means to be able to take risks. She knew that it was a risk worth taking to save the lives of hundreds of thousands.
Second, Esther demonstrated effective communication skills. She showed tactfulness in presenting her petition to the king. She created interest and curiosity in the king’s mind by inviting him to banquets before she communicated her concern to him. Even the choice of her words was instrumental in creating enough effect in the mind of the king, to spur him for immediate action. When the king asked what her request was, she pleaded for her life to be spared along with the lives of all her people. She used her diplomatic skills in order to influence the king. She planned to make sure that the king’s favor and interest were with her. Now, when she pleaded for her life, she was not being selfish. In fact, her concern went far beyond herself. She used her own favored status to plea for the lives of her people.
In her position as a queen she could have saved herself and her relatives. However, she was more concerned about her people than for herself. She considered her chances of success and took charge, when Mordecai, her guardian, asked her to intervene into the matter. She was quick to realise that she was in a strategic position. She took the responsibility of advocating on behalf of all the Jewish people. She kept aside her own fears and took the initiative to mediate and even act against the edict of the king, which was punishable by death.
As the Lord Jesus teaches, leaders are called to be shepherds. Good shepherds save the lives of the people under their care even at the cost of their own lives. Likewise, Esther demonstrated that she was like a good shepherd. Looking into our own times, we may find leaders who will not hesitate to put their own agenda before others.
Finally let me say there are many areas in our society today that needs our influence and intervention. There are many injustices done to helpless people by powerful people. There are many women, children, and the poor who are discriminated upon. Many women and children are abused at work, discriminated upon in wages and salary. We have more child labor in India than anywhere else. Many people face discrimination on ethnic grounds. We have corruption in our societies at all levels. Many people suffer because of their faith and the list goes on…. Today we need leaders who will have the courage to take risks. Even women can make huge differences in society, church, and in the nation too. Many of us are placed in strategic positions to do our little bit. Let us be more compassionate and act for justice. Perhaps, it was “for just such a time as this”(Esther 4:14) that we are where we are today. Looking at the big picture, thousands of people are dying everyday without Christ. Women can play important roles in intercession, church life, and evangelistic efforts, which will have lasting impact. Yes you and I can make a difference.
Authored by Hanna Engtipi