Play the game

Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.”

“If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.”

- Esther 5:3-4

Esther takes deliberate steps to work in the system in which she finds herself.

Notice that the king offers her “up to half the kingdom,” but she doesn’t take it. She understands the gesture, knows the social dynamics and plays the game. Her request for the king and his right-hand man to attend her banquet is understood as a curiosity-provoking continuation of the dance one is supposed to do when making a request of the king.

We encounter a tension when in situations like this. Play by the rules or step away from the crowd? Cut to the chase or go the long way around? Game on or game over?

As followers of Jesus, we’ve been placed in very particular places. He wants us to be in these places, to adopt the local culture, to fit in.

But he also calls us to stand out. We aren’t supposed to conform to the pattern of this world. We are called to be outstanding in love and service and holiness.

Can you feel the tension?

Where in your life is God calling you to step in and play the game by the rules? Where in your life is God calling you to step out and say that the game isn’t holy, honoring or good?

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