Such a Time as This Sermon

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Mon, 09/23/2019 - 3:00pm

“Such a Time as This” Sermon for September 22, 2019 at Harbor Church

Second Reading: background,-

The Book of Esther took place during the reign of Xerxes (who sometimes is called Ahasuerus), king of Persia[1] The Jewish people were living in Persia at the time and seemed to be prospering. The King took Esther to be his queen. However, one of the kings advisor, named Haman, hated the Jews and plotted to destroy them. This is the point in the narrative where our reading begins. Mordecai, the step-father of Esther the queen comes to her and challenges her to intercede with the king to save the Jewish people.

Esther 4:1-17

When Mordecai learned all that had been done, Mordecai tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went through the city, wailing with a loud and bitter cry; he went up to the entrance of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth. In every province, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, with fasting and weeping and lamenting, and most of them lay in sackcloth and ashes.

When Esther’s maids and her eunuchs came and told her, the queen was deeply distressed; she sent garments to clothe Mordecai, so that he might take off his sackcloth; but he would not accept them. Then Esther called for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs, who had been appointed to attend her, and ordered him to go to Mordecai to learn what was happening and why. Hathach went out to Mordecai in the open square of the city in front of the king’s gate, and Mordecai told him all that had happened to him, and the exact sum of money that Haman had promised to pay into the king’s treasuries for the destruction of the Jews. Mordecai also gave him a copy of the written decree issued in Susa for their destruction, that he might show it to Esther, explain it to her, and charge her to go to the king to make supplication to him and entreat him for her people.

Hathach went and told Esther what Mordecai had said. Then Esther spoke to Hathach and gave him a message for Mordecai, saying, “All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—all alike are to be put to death. Only if the king holds out the golden scepter to someone, may that person live. I myself have not been called to come in to the king for thirty days.” When they told Mordecai what Esther had said, Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s family will perish. Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Then Esther said in reply to Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

The end of the story is that Queen Esther saves the day and the Jewish people, the wicked schemer Haman is hanged, and Mordecai is honored for working for the welfare of his people. There are many great themes and lessons for us in this story. The part of this account that I would like to call attention to is that Esther was the right person, in the right place at the right time to do something significant for God and His people. Because of her courage and willingness to take a risk and do something good and necessary, an ancient holocaust was averted and an entire group of people were delivered from annihilation. Mordecai saw this when he told Esther: “Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.” Esther was not only in a position to do something, but the timing of her actions was perfect as well.

Time matters to Mark McKinley. He is The professor of psychology at LCCC and the Guinness World Record holder for having the largest collection of talking clocks — 782 to be precise — says time is a precious commodity, and adheres to one of his favorite quotes: “Time is the currency of life: Spend it wisely.”

Talking clocks are now obsolete antiques; but they have been replaced with modern equivalents. Our smart phones , computers and other devices have Siri, and Alexa that talk to us, and remind us of upcoming appointments and pending tasks and other action items on our To-Do Lists. They even tell us when it’s time to do something. Mordecai was Esther’s talking clock, her Alexa. He told her that the time was right to do something right- something necessary, something important. And he told her that the time was now.

Annually at this time of year, we begin our stewardship drive. Its our time to consider in what ways we will personally participate in the work of the church in the coming year. A month from now we will have pledge Sunday in which we will have the opportunity to make our financial commitments to support the work of the church. This is a vital responsibility of church membership, but it is only part of what stewardship is about. In the broadest sense, stewardship encompasses the entire offering of ourselves to the work of God and his kingdom on earth. The three “T’s” are a good way to understand this. Time, Talents and Treasure are the full measure of what we can give to the Lord and the work of His church. So we begin today with Time as the focus of what we can bring, what we can offer in our service to God and others.

In business, they say Time is Money - In life, Time is Currency as well.

 

And if time, one of the currencies of life, it is best spent in the current moment.

 

Richard Bandler said

The currency of living is how you spend the moments of your life.

a persistent theme in the Scriptures is the exhortation to live our lives in the present moment, to 'spend' our time in the current day.

 

Our reading from Ephesians today says: “Be very care how you live, and live wisely, making the most of your time…”

Kay Lyons said it well:

"Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note. Today is the only cash you have... spend it wisely."

The foolish person can easily squander their money. But the unwise person can just as easily let time slip away without investing it well in things that really matter.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for time is the stuff life is made of”.

 

In our call to worship today, we declared:

"Today is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Psalm 118:24

Today. We express our faith in this truth every time that we pray "Give us this day our daily bread." Our daily bread includes not only our physical provisions, but by extension everything that we need to make it through the day.

In the movie The. Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams plays the role of a charismatic professor who inspires his students with the mantra

“Carpe Diem” Seize the Day – Make the most of every opportunity.

. Today is a one-of-a-kind, never to be repeated gift of God; and for all we know it may be all we have. So let's make the most of it.

Three of my favorite songs express similar sentiments:

Tim McGraw sings about a man who learns he has cancer in "Live like you were Dying"

REO Speedwagon has a song entitled, 'Live every moment, love every day'

And the group Nickelback provokes us with the thought 'If today was your last day...'

The guiding principle of 12-step support groups is to live one day at a time. To make the most of today.

So how will we spend our time in the coming season, in the coming year? What will we do with the time that we’ve been given? What will we give back to God? How will we invest our time wisely? Where will we spend our moments so that they matter, so that they make a difference?

A busy dad bragged I may not spend much time with my children, but its quality time. To that assertion I would respond you can’t have quality without quantity. So perhaps we can begin by quantifying how much time we are spending with God and for God. We will all spend it differently, no doubt. But there should equally be no doubt of the necessity of setting aside significant offerings of time to be with God, and to serve others, and to do the volunteer work of the church, upon which it depends just as much as it does the dollars that we give.

In the offertory, Carrie sang,

For such a time as this
I was placed upon the earth
To hear the voice of God
And do His will
Whatever it is
For such a time as this
For now and all the days He gives
I am here, And I am His
For such a time as this

What will we do with the days that God has given to us? How will we spend our time for him?

We can live today, and we can live in today by the power of God's Holy Spirit.. . Just live in today, one day at a time.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

And then, Let's Give today all that we've got - because it is all that we really have.