6TH - 12TH GRADE
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
-- 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
Sunday, November 15, 2020
by John Hutchison
When I was in college, there was a song that was very popular in Christian circles. It
was called “Ordinary People.” As you know this was a long time ago. It was pre-CD. I know
LPs are making a come back, but this song wasn’t a comeback. It was released on vinyl,
cassettes, and I probably could have gotten it on 8-track. 8-track wasn’t quite dead, when the
song was popular. I don’t remember all the lyrics, as I said it was a long time ago. The chorus
said something deep and true, “God uses plain old ordinary people. He uses people who are
WILLING to lend a hand.” It left a pretty big impression. I think it’s something we need to
remember during these extraordinary times.
One of the things that can happen when we read the stories in the Bible is we can get
the wrong impression of the people in the Bible. When we see Gideon’s faith, Samson’s
strength, and Moses’ humility and the awesome things God achieved through them, we can feel
they weren’t normal every day people. We start to believe they achieved those amazing things
because they were special. We forget the God who made all of these things possible. They
weren’t the amazing ones. Their God was the amazing one.
You are living in extraordinary times. The issues facing our country and this world can
seem insurmountable. I think it would be unnecessarily tedious and depressing to list them all.
When I look at my small talents and abilities and pit them against this avalanche of impossible
circumstances I am completely overwhelmed. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
The world can seem very scary at times. I’m going to begin a series talking about plain old
ordinary people who were stuck in some very difficult situations. They were frightened. They
were broken. God did some amazing things through them. They changed their world in a very
real way, because they were willing. God needs willingness.
The first one I thought I’d talk about is Esther. Esther was a pretty young Jewish
woman. Her people Israel were in exile. I would suggest you read the whole story. It’s found in
the Old Testament in the book of Esther (surprise). I won’t try and tell the whole story at this
time. Esther ended up being chosen to be queen of the country that was oppressing the
Israelites. Her heritage wasn’t known.
The king had an important counselor/advisor. The man advised the king on many
different issues. He was a very powerful man in the kingdom. This counselor, Haman, got
angry with a Jewish man. In something that wasn’t coincidence, the Jewish man, Mordecai,
was Esther’s uncle. Haman wasn’t just angry. He was vindictive. He not only wanted to kill
Mordecai, but he decided to kill all the Jews at the same time. It was the original final solution
(think Nazis if you don’t know what I’m talking about).
Mordecai found Esther and told her she had to do something. The Jewish nation was in
danger. She had access to the king. Mordecai said she had to take a stand; she needed to go
before the king to plead for the lives of her people.
However, Esther was afraid. She had good reason to be afraid. As queen she couldn’t
visit the king whenever she wanted. The king had to send for her. If she wasn’t called before
the king, she could try to approach him. But if he didn’t extend his scepter toward her, she
would be killed. Approaching the king on her own could mean her death. That’s a pretty good
reason not to approach the king. Mordecai told her something that has been repeated in the
church for a long time. I want you to think about these words. “Who knows? Maybe God
raised you up for just such a time as this.”
Esther wasn’t super smart. She wasn’t a great warrior. She was a pretty woman. Like I
said, I won’t tell you the whole story, but God used her to save Mordecai and the whole Jewish
nation. Haman ended up suffering the same fate he’d planned for Mordecai. God used her in a
mighty way. She was brave enough to face possible death to do what God planned, and the
Jewish people were saved. It’s a pretty awesome story. It’s definitely worth reading. Take the
time to look it over, and it might give you the courage to face your own struggles. Remember
God uses plain old ordinary people to achieve amazing things.