The theme for our Generosity campaign this year is “for such a time as this,” a quotation from Esther 4:14. The context is this:
Queen Esther is faced with a choice. She can either:
- Break the rules of her fickle husband, the Persian king Ahasuerus,
- Plead for him not to carry out a planned-for massacre of all the Jews in the empire,
- Reveal her true Jewish identity, AND
- Risk being killed for her impertinence and deceit.
Or, she can keep quiet and safe, and hope for the best.
She’s tempted to do the latter until her cousin and protector, Mordecai, advises,
“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.”
Esther is in an unusually lofty position as the king’s favorite. She is uniquely qualified to address the crisis; indeed she is the only one who stands a chance at changing the king’s mind. Because of Mordecai’s urging, she feels compelled to respond. And so, at great personal risk, she intercedes on behalf of her people, and her gambit succeeds.
Third Church, are we not also uniquely positioned to respond to the crises and opportunities of our time?
Here we are:
- having called a new Pastor/Head of Staff,
- having charged our Session and Trustees to plan to thrive during the budgeting process,
- having emerged from the pandemic’s most acute phase, battered but hopeful.
Here we are:
- awash in resources of knowledge, talent, and money,
- nestled in one of the nation’s poorest and most racially-segregated cities.
Here we are:
- learning to embrace new technologies
- yearning to share the Gospel in new ways.
Very soon you will receive a letter and a pledge form in the mail, asking you to commit to giving a share of your resources to Third Church in 2022. The letter will describe the 12% increase in expenditures we anticipate for the year ahead, an increase that will fund bold new initiatives for our Outreach programs and our own spiritual nourishment. It will remind you that making your 2022 pledge on or before Generosity Sunday, November 21, will help the church plan for the careful stewardship of the resources entrusted to it.
If you have a lot, ask yourself “Can I sacrifice a lot?” If you have a little, ask yourself “Is there still a little I can give away?” As you discern what God is calling you to commit in 2022, and as you fill out that pledge form, ask yourself, “Could it be that I have come into this position for such a time as this?”