FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS

Today's devotion from Esther 3-5.

After reading these chapters, one would assume any writer worth his salt would go straight for Esther 4:14 and wax eloquent about the importance of seizing the opportunity of the time and place in which God has brought you. Then, we would talk about the importance of looking on the bright side of even the most dire circumstances with the faith that God can and will redeem even the most difficult time of our lives by giving them purpose by demonstrating His power in and through them. I might agree. Any devotional author worth his keyboard would do just that.

I am not that author.

Instead, I want to challenge you to see something else. But first, I would like to ask you a question: Who are you eating dinner with? Now, before you think I've lost my mind, I would ask you to trust me. There is a reason I am asking this question. Most of us enjoy laughing and eating with friends. If you speak Christianese, you would call this, "fellowship." It might sound crazy, but sharing a meal with someone is powerful.

Take for instance the book of Esther. Read her story. It begins at a feast, doesn't it? Food plays a key role in her preparation before she meets the king. Meals and food are everywhere in this account. When she does gather her courage to help her countrymen, she turns the table on the king. Instead of being worried about getting an invitation to come before him, she takes the initiative and invites him into her life...around a table.

Throughout Scripture we see the power and importance of hospitality centered on breaking bread. The patriarchs invited guests and strangers. The psalmists praise God for preparing a table before him in the presence of his enemies because this represented fellowship with God and blessing. Jesus went from home to home eating and laughing so much that He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard in Matthew 11 and Luke 7. The early church built its community by going from house to house breaking bread, and deacons were called because of issues in distributing food. God's plan is all building to a marriage supper with Christ in Revelation 19.

Read the Scriptures and you will see that hospitality and hosting is a vital and important part of life for all humanity, and an invaluable means of ministry for the believer. So, again I'll ask you: Who are you eating dinner with? Are you just seeing the same people, or are you opening your home to get to know the new neighbors from across the street? Have you invited that new couple from your Sunday school class? Could you build a relationship with that single mother from work around your dinner table? Who knows? Perhaps you've been blessed with food and furniture for such a time as this!