@robertkwendt || lead pastor
In Scotland there sits these little houses all throughout the countryside. Some are in the hills while others sit along the coast line. Some even reside next to the ocean. The locals refer to these rustic cottages as Bothies.
What is so unique about them is that many sit on private land. They do not have locks on the doors. They are open to anyone who wants to stop in and spend the night. The cost? Completely free.
I cannot imagine the thought of something like this in America. If there was it would definitely come with a price tag.
The heartbeat behind these is very much in line with the heartbeat of God. God has given to us so that we may give to others.
God gives so we may give.
There is a story in the Bible that sits between the books of Nehemiah and Job. This ten chapter book never mentions the name of God. Not once. Yet, God's handiwork can be seen all throughout the pages. We see how God raised a women who didn't have parents to raise her all the way up to position of queen of Persia (a kingdom stretching from India to Ethiopia).
The tension of the story can be seen in Esther 4:1-14. A verdict went out to order the execution of all the Jews (God's people and Esther's nationality). The man who raised her, Mordecai, was so distraught by this verdict that he tore off his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes. He then reached out to Esther for help.
Esther's first response to going to speak with the king went as follows:
All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.” Esther 4:11, NLT
Naturally her response was (in my terms), "ARE YOU CRAZY!?"
Going to the king, especially unannounced, could mean the end of her life as she knew it. However, Mordecai wasn't done teaching and directing her in the ways of God. After all, God had been using him to raise her in the ways of him. So he responded with these powerful words:
Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” Esther 4:13-14, NLT
"Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"
In other words...God has given to you so that you may give to others. He has placed you where He has for a reason. What are you going to do Esther?
When it comes to our status and possessions, we have options just like Esther had.
hold on or give out.
We each have possessions (even if you don't think you have much you do). The world teaches us that everything we have we are entitled to. It is ours. We can hold on to it, surround it with "no trespassing signs," and even show it off to those around us. Yes, we go to work, pay our bills, and make sacrifices to gain what we have, but ultimately it is not ours. God gave it to us so that we may share it with others.
Jesus talked about how we should view possessions.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
In other words, don't build fences. Build a Bony. Take what you have been given and use it for others.
Esther realized that she was placed where she was for a reason. God wanted to use her to help His people. He had placed her there for such a time as this. However, that didn't mean it wouldn't be scary to take a bold step and approach the king.
what is fuzzy to us is clear to god.
The whole book of Esther has all these seemingly unrelated stories happening that ultimately intermingle to make a beautiful picture of God's handiwork.
Esther decides to take a bold step and approach the king. Much to her surprise, he offers her anything up unto half of his kingdom.
On the third day of the fast, Esther put on her royal robes and entered the inner court of the palace, just across from the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing there in the inner court, he welcomed her and held out the gold scepter to her. So Esther approached and touched the end of the scepter. Then the king asked her, “What do you want, Queen Esther? What is your request? I will give it to you, even if it is half the kingdom!”
As the story unfolds the king is kept awake at night. He then reads about how Mordecai saves his life. Later Haman, the man who wanted the Jews to be killed, is actually killed on the stake he had built for Mordecai to die on. Mordecai is raised up to a high position in the kingdom and the Jewish people are looked after.
All of this took place following the bold, sacrificial step of Esther. Here was Esther's response to Mordecai in approaching the king:
And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die." Esther 4:16 NLT
Esther was willing to risk everything she had. Her status. Her queen-ship. Her reputation. She knew that God had given her what she had so that He may save the Jewish people.
Esther could have easily played the diva card. She could have kept everything she had. She could have built a fence around her title as queen. Instead, she risked her very life to serve others.
After all, what she was given wasn't her's but it was God's.
Our challenge is to have the same attitude as Esther. God has given us everything we have. He has given it to us so that we may give to others.
Who is a person you can give something to this week? How can you be more hospitable? How can you share with someone in need? How can you build a Bothy rather than a fence?