Do you have a task you're not looking forward to today? Maybe you've agreed to keep someone else's preschooler while they enjoy lunch out...but now you're having second thoughts about your generous offer. Or maybe you have to deal with a crummy situation at work and you're dreading the discussion. It could be that you simply have to clean your house today, get it back in order after a fun-for-all weekend. Or you might need to say those words none of us enjoy saying -- "I'm sorry" -- and you're thinking of every diversion you can to keep from having that encounter. Or maybe it's some other task I can't even conjure up in my mind right now, but it's very real and pressing to you. And you...just...don't...want...to do it.
Then again, it may not be a specific task you're dreading today as much as you're simply continuing to wrestle with a role you must play day after day that you never wanted to take on. Maybe you never planned to be a single parent, but ...here you are...alone. Or maybe you have a child with special needs and you still, after all these years, feel unprepared, ill-equipped, out of your comfort zone with this role. Maybe you're a working mom, but you'd rather be home with the preschoolers you left at daycare this morning. Or you could be a stay-at-home mom and you're lamenting the fact that you didn't get to dress up in something besides shorts and a t-shirt this morning, have coffee with grown-ups, and work on "really important stuff," stuff that didn't include cleaning!
Are you wearing shoes today that you never thought you'd be wearing? Or maybe those shoes are ones you picked out, but now you're having second thoughts. They're getting a little uncomfortable, pinching you around the toes, so to speak.
We've all heard those piercing words that I read this morning in Esther:
And Mordecai told them to answer Esther:
"Do not think in your heart that you will escape
in the king's palace any more than all the other Jews.
For if you remain completely silent at this time,
relief and deliverance will arise for the
Jews from another place,
but you and your father's house will perish.
Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom
for such a time as this?
Of course when we read those words we usually put them in the context of words spoken to a queen, a woman of privilege. And she was being called to a heroic task, not a mundane one like babysitting someone else' preschooler or cleaning toilets or saying I'm sorry. This is a fairytale come true, albeit one filled with danger and intrigue. Thus we don't consider the delicate shoes of a queen to be comparable to the sneakers of a stay-at-home mom who wants to be at the office or the pumps of the working woman who'd rather be at home. Sure, she was a little reticent to step up to the plate and deal with the impending danger, but in the end how hard could it really be to have a nice meal with the king?
Still, she didn't want to do it. She would be putting her life at risk; bucking the establishment, stepping in where she'd rather be staying out of things, and, on top of it all, she'd have to act nice in front of that scoundrel Haman. Yuck.
But Esther rose to the occasion. She prayed and fasted and did what she needed to do. She did what someone had to do. She did what God had obviously assigned her to do. And she did it with grace...and success.
We all have a choice today. We can struggle against the assignments we've been divinely given in this life -- as mundane or monumental as they may be -- or we can do the thing with grace. And be assured, there is no in between. Just "doing it" doesn't cut it. An apology offered through gritted teeth is no gracious apology. And if you're at home with your preschoolers but you're spending all your time daydreaming about being somewhere else, you're probably not very effective. Likewise, if God has you at work and your children in someone else's care, you're doing them no favor by whining and complaining about it.
Today your God has called you to some special tasks, some specific roles. You can fight them or embrace them. But the Bible says to do all that we do with fervor and passion, as unto the Lord. We may need to follow Queen Esther's example and pray (even fast) about the task at hand. We may need to enlist others to pray for us. But if God's given the assignment, He'll give us the strength and grace to accomplish it.
I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me!
Will you do today what someone needs to do...what you need to do...what God has called you to do?