I love learning. Steve Jobs says something that I relate to, “Stay Foolish. Stay Hungry”. Carol Mutoko paraphrases it in the language we understand, she says “Never arrive” i.e. usiwahifika! That perhaps is what these year has been about, a year of growth and learning.
I am currently going through the book of Esther. It is the best summary of some of the greatest lessons I have learned this year. Esther has been made a queen in circumstances that are beyond her awesomeness. Soon after the Jews are in trouble, Haman plans to destroy all of them. Modecai goes to Esther with a proposition for her to talk to the king and get him to reverse Haman’s plans. Esther is scared, rightfully so. This is a big deal, appearing before the king when he has not summoned you can earn you death. So she’s right to be afraid.
But Modecai’s response to Esther’s fear has been the one thing I have learned this year “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?”
What Mordecai is telling Esther is that, God may have prepared a place for her at the king’s table so that she can be part of the redemption of the Jews. However, if she does not allow herself to be used of God, He will find another way of redeeming His people. You see God always leaves the choice to us, His desire is we obey Him. But even if we do not, He will find another way of getting the work done.
What is the last assignment God gave you? Are you perhaps not moving forward because you have refused to take steps into the last sometimes mundane assignment He gave you? These verses remind me that it is a privilege to be part of God’s work. It also reminds me, God leaves choice to obey with us, and if we do not obey, He will still find another way of redeeming His people. It is a harsh truth.
When you look at the life of Saul, he was anointed to be king of Israel. But when he chooses sacrifices over obedience to God, God moves on and makes a new King. “How the LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.”
A walk of obedience
Anywho, Esther is wiser than Saul. She chooses to obey. Not because it was a convenient choice, there was a risk attached to this choice, it was more a step of faith.
So she decides to pray and fast before proceeding with any action. I think these prayers were for her to encourage herself in the Lord more than they were a question of direction. So at the end of this prayer season, there is no record of God speaking afresh as God had already spoken before.
What the prayers achieved was give her the courage to do what needed to be done. This has been a lesson I have held onto this year. Pray, pray, pray, God gives you the courage to keep going.
So yet again I ask, what has God called you to do? Consider going back to those steps. A few years ago, God impressed on me to serve Him by giving financially, I did, I see why now (you can read one of the blogs I wrote on this here). A few years ago, God impressed on me to serve in various ministries, they looked too many at the time, I see why now (you can read more here). The networks and lessons from then are the building block on which Lapid Leaders is built on. Last year God charged me to spend time praying for my family, I did, I still do. I see the results of those prayers in Lapid Leaders even now.
What has God placed in your heart? Are you waiting for the big picture? Like Esther start with the steps of obedience.
The redemption comes
The last lesson and perhaps the biggest lesson for me comes in how the redemption of the Jews comes.
Esther takes the first step into the unknown, the king spares her life. So the plan to help her people begins. If the king has spared her then she will definitely be in a position to save her people. But wait a minute, redemption does not come through Esther, necessarily. Listen to this.
The king is having one of those sleepless nights. I have many of those, they are not interesting. He does what I would also do, he looks for his ‘journal’ and goes down memory lane. As he reads it, he comes across this hidden history, Mordecai had saved him from an assassinator and had not been rewarded. In those minutes, the king sees Mordecai in a new way. In this sleepless moment, the Lord has done all the work for Esther. He has set into motion the redemption of the Jews.
This has been the greatest lesson I have learned this year, God will do the work, all He requires is my obedience. Just like that Esther has been set up for success on this mission. God will even use the same enemies to bless these mission. When Haman is asked how he thinks the king should honor Mordecai, he is so self-absorbed he thinks it is himself the king wants to honor.
So while he planned the destruction of Mordecai, he ends up exalting him. Because the battle always belongs to the Lord. That has been my lesson.
What have you learned this year? The reason I love this quote by Steve Jobs is because it embodies bettering yourself. As the year ends, as next year checks in, the one thing I desire for myself, in my walk with God, in my career, in my life, is to stay hungry and stay foolish. To never arrive, to always be open to the things God wants to teach me. That is still the most amazing thing in this life, it is being a student of the Most High King.