Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Living Fully

How do we live fully? It seems in the humdrum of life, our "full living" gets pushed aside to a more convenient date or time. But that date or time doesn't always come, and so our living becomes cramped and dusty.
We are aware of the story of Esther in the Bible. She was put in the position of queen just when her people needed her most. She told Mordecai, her cousin, that she would go to the king and plead on the behalf of the Jews, even though she hadn't been summoned and it could mean death for her. She said "I'll go to the king, and if I die, I die."
We know how this story ends. Esther went to the king and the king received her. Esther then brought her plea to the king and her people were saved and the wicked Haman was hanged.
Esther was an amazing woman. She gathered her courage, risked her life, and saved her people. She will be remembered forever for being so brave and willing to put herself in danger. We could say she was living life to the fullest. She gave everything she had to give. She was there “for such a time as this.”
Sometimes we have the opportunity to do great things as well. It’s easy to live life to the fullest when we are saving the whales, running a soup kitchen, organizing a fundraiser to make money for Bibles in China, or you’re in Romania building an orphanage. We give everything we have – we can see the results of our work immediately; we are changing people’s lives. People around us see what we’re doing and they appreciate it. They may even be a bit awed by what we’re doing.
So, what do we do with the fact that a lot of life is just living day-to-day, trying not to fall behind on homework, or fall asleep in class? Maybe we have a job. But it’s the same job day in and day out. We have almost the same routine over and over. We’re not saving humanity or going on mission trips. How can we live life to the fullest in those mundane, totally ordinary moments when we’re not doing anything spectacular?
Let’s look at what Esther was up to before she was Queen saving her people. She started out in a small house in a village. She was an orphan, living with her cousin, possibly eking out their existence from day to day. She probably ground corn, baked bread, washed clothes, swept the floor, and made the beds. She lived an ordinary life. Day in and day out; nothing spectacular. A knock on her door changed her life forever. She was taken the palace where she spent an entire year getting beauty treatments. My question is, just how many times can you wash and brush your hair, soak in myrrh-infused water, and get sprayed with perfume before you’re really tired of it? Probably not very long. Even this exciting thing became ordinary. Mundane. Rather unspectacular.
But faithfully she performed her duties. It was boring scrubbing floors, and being spritzed with perfume was certainly getting old as well. But she kept up with it. We don’t know if she did it without complaining, but by entering into those moments and accomplishing those tasks, she was living life to the fullest. In each thing she did, whether it was baking or bathing, God was preparing her for her future, for that great event for which everyone will remember her.
I have to wonder if Esther ever felt like her life was going nowhere. Was she tired of doing the same things over and over just like we get tired of going to classes every other day and doing homework in every spare moment? We have to remember that God is orchestrating every moment. He has us where we are for a reason. He may be preparing us for something spectacular. On the other hand, we may never see the real, full results of our hard work. Nevertheless, we are doing homework and attending classes because we are here “for such a time as this.”
Life isn’t always filled with the glorious things that let us know that we are making a difference. Sometimes we are just living from day to day, doing the same thing
But, we are here for such a time as this. This IS where we are supposed to be right now
Leo Tolstoy, in his story, Three Questions, says, “Remember then: there is only one time that is important - Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with anyone else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!"
Enter each moment, accomplish the task set before you; then you will be living life to the fullest.

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