If I Perish, I Perish

by Bethany

Relevant Text: Est. 4:15-16
Full Text: Est. 4; Acts 27

Cravings | “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering,” said Earnest Hemingway. “The rest are merely games” [1]. Extreme sports enthusiasts, of course, agree. There needs to be some life-threatening element that satisfies our craving for adventure. After all, boredom is the worst. As Victor Hugo said, “One can dream of something more terrible than a hell where one suffers; it’s a hell where one would get bored” [2]. Yet, our craving for adventure has a twin craving that extreme sports don’t satisfy – significance. We don’t just want thrills; we want meaning. We want something that’s worth taking risks for.

Risks | Haman convinced the king to issue a decree to exterminate the Jewish refugees. The king, however, didn’t know that Esther was Jewish. When Mordecai heard about the decree, he asked Esther to plead their case to the king. Although she knew that the lives of her people were at stake, she also knew that the law stated that anyone who approached the king without being summoned would be killed unless mercy was shown. What did she do? She told Mordecai, “Go, gather all the Jews … and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” [3]. Esther didn’t know what would happen, but she made her decision based on wisdom and love. Then she handed the results over to God.

Obedience | In our culture, we have opportunities to take risks with significance daily. In fact, mere obedience can lead to a meaningful adventure. For example, when working professionals observe the Sabbath by resting from work and focusing on God, they risk being bested by colleagues and competitors. When we give the firstfruits of our income to God by tithing, we risk not being able to afford other things. How do we choose obedience? We release our cravings for comfort, security, control and success, and embrace our cravings for adventure, faith, miracles and deep knowledge of Jesus.

Prayer | Lord, You created us for adventure with significance. Yet, we are oftentimes misdirected and separate these twin cravings. In our lives, give us the courage to take risks for your kingdom, as we constantly choose faith over fear and obedience over sin. Amen.

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Footnotes

[1] There is debate about whether Hemingway actually said this.
Some attribute it to writer Barnaby Conrad while others attribute it to Ken Purdy.  |
[2] Victor Hugo. Les Miserables.  |  [3] Esth. 4:15-16 NKJV


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2 Comments to “If I Perish, I Perish”

  1. Being aware of the tremendous significance of my life’s daily tasks is crucial to my joyful and successful existence as a Christian. Doing so makes me want to get up on time and live and work at my vocation, making sure that I honor God’s law in all that I do.

    Life is fun, fulfilling, adventurous and of course trying when I live it this way. It also keeps me dependent on the Holy Spirit for strength, when for example my clients’ sinfulness is thoroughly testing every ounce of my Christian convictions. Life is real, and every moment counts. – Esther probably knew this better than I do.

    In my life it’s probably most often the seemingly foolish things that God uses to build his kingdom, not like Esther’s very in-your-face moment before the king. I’m reminded of how Luther was reported as saying “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”

    Grace and peace, and thanks for reminding me to live for Christ in our culture, which is risky, but has meaning and is fulfilling!! :O)

  2. Brian, That’s exactly what I was hoping for! When I was thinking about what to write as a reflection on this topic, I ran across a lot of pastors who talk about taking “the big risks” (which usually means becoming a missionary or starting a revival). Yes, those are great and needed and obedient and godly, but I thought to myself, “Our every act of obedience – especially in light of our culture – is usually risky.” When single believers choose only to date other believers – even though they feel more attracted to nonbelievers – it’s an act of faith that says, “I may feel this way, but I know God tells me that He wants me to be with other believers and He takes joy in my obedience. Yes, It seems risky to me because I can only see my feelings today, but I trust that He knows more than I do and He will be faithful to His word to grow my attraction for Him and, thereby, for other believers.” When friends choose not to gossip about other friends – even though they too may be frustrated with their friends – it is an act of faith that says, “I may feel frustrated, but the Lord delights in His children being one even as the Son and the Father are one. It may feel risky because I may seem annoying to my friends who want to gossip or I just feel like venting will make it seem better, but I trust that the Lord doesn’t want discord among His children and that He takes joy when we are united.” The examples can go on and on … These are no small risks in some cases! And when we embrace them and choose obedience, it is my hope and prayer that we’ll see how thrilling and adventurous the Christian life can be. :)

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