Let's move on from our study of creativity or perhaps I should say let's move back - back to a discussion of purpose. About five years ago, I wrote about Queen Esther and I want to return to her purpose profile to see what you can learn to apply to your own PurposeQuest. We know that Esther was a queen and was instrumental in saving her fellow Jews from destruction by being in the right place at the right time. How did she get to this place where she fulfilled her purpose, being used by God in a special way? Let's look at three points that will answer that question:
- Your past doesn’t prevent you from fulfilling your purpose, unless you allow it to do so. “Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother” (Esther 2:7a). Esther was an orphan. What’s more, she wasn’t even raised by an aunt or grandparent. She was raised by her male cousin, Mordecai, in a foreign country where they were both minorities. So Esther didn’t have much going for her in the natural. She had God with her, however, and someone once said, “You plus God are a majority no matter how many others there are.” Do you believe that? If you do, then when will start acting like it?
- You may be taking your obvious purpose for granted. “This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died” (Esther 2:7b). I love the way the Bible describes Esther. One version states that she was beautiful “in face and form.” In other words, Esther was beautiful by design – God made her that way. That may not seem important or even a bit "worldly," but her beauty was an important part of her purpose. You can get so accustomed to who you are that you miss the obvious, which is why you may not be able to describe your purpose. Your purpose may be so natural or “unspectacular” to you that is hard to recognize. You may even take your beauty or some other feature for granted, when it may hold a key to fulfilling your purpose.
- God wants to build on your strengths and not your weaknesses. “When the king's order and edict had been proclaimed, many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa and put under the care of Hegai. Esther also was taken to the king's palace and entrusted to Hegai, who had charge of the harem. The girl pleased him and won his favor. Immediately he provided her with her beauty treatments and special food. He assigned to her seven maids selected from the king's palace and moved her and her maids into the best place in the harem” (Esther 2:8-9). Esther was beautiful, so what did God do? He gave her people who would make her more beautiful! Too often we spend too much time fretting about our weaknesses and consequently spend even more time trying to be who we’re not. If you’re doing that, please stop. Focus on your strengths and be the best expression of who God made you to be. God isn’t interested in well-rounded individuals. He wants to use specialists who have focused on being the best they can be. That’s the power of purpose.
So who are you? Are you beautiful? Can you play the piano? Speak before people? Play or coach basketball? Can you write poetry? Then this week ask yourself how you can be even better in those areas where you are already strong? This week take time to focus on your strengths and please don’t allow your painful past, even your failures, to determine the extent to which God can use you today. God used Esther’s beauty to open doors for her and He will use your strengths to do the same for you, if you don’t try to diminish or ignore your strength. This week determine to follow in Esther’s footsteps and be the best you can be. Have a great week!
BASEBALL FOR KENYA: I am happy to report that our fundraiser at PNC Park last Tuesday raised $7,750, most of which has already been spent and sent to Kenya for needs there. In the three years we have done the event, we have raised $35,000 for the widows and orphans. My thanks to our host, J.R. Reid, for his generous support and to all who came and gave, and for those who gave but could not come.
KENYA UPDATE: I posted an update from Pastor Francis today (the picture at right is of the children showing off their new shoes), and he reminded me that it's time for Mary's next round of school fees. You can read the update and then give to the cause through my website or by sending a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 8882, Pittsburgh, PA 15221-0882. Thank you for your generous support.