The Book of Esther blows my mind. I’m inspired by this tale of providence featuring the unassuming, sweet, compliant Queen of Persia. Esther risked her own life by acting in obedience to God. She walked away from resistance, entered God’s plan, and saved the Jewish race from annihilation. Wow. I want to be like Esther.
But what I want to do, I don’t do and instead, I act more like Esther’s predecessor, Queen Vashti. I can picture myself sitting in the queen’s chair during that infamous scene of Vashti’s defiance:
“The King demands your presence,” announces the fair tempered eunuch.
“Um, excuse me—Queen of Persia having a royal banquet with her BFF’s here.”
“But the King wants you to come.”
“Yes! The King wants. He wants, and he wants, and he wants. What about what I want, huh? You can tell the good King I won’t be coming this time. I didn’t spend the last three days soaking in perfume and oil to be paraded in front of a mob of drunken men.”
Like Vashti, my stubbornness runs bone deep. In the third year of Xerxes’ reign, Vashti’s defiance won her the humiliation of being deposed. in two thousand and nine, my defiance won me the embarrassment of living in the stink of my own making.
It all started when my dear husband took up the habit of tossing his dirty laundry onto the bedroom floor. This ineptitude baffled me. The hamper was only three feet away, so what was the big deal? Nagging never helped, so I scooped up his dirty clothes and flung them into the hamper. I did this day after every stinking day, grumbling all the way. Why should I have to pick up his mess?
Then I got the bright idea to conduct an experiment. It would be a crudely managed scientific observation of human behavior. I hypothesized that if I could resist the urge to pick up the clothes, then eventually, my dear husband would notice the mess and pick it up himself.
By day two, the experiment looked promising. The clothes began to stack up with abandon, and I smiled at the dirty pile. Surely, it wouldn’t be long before my dear husband reached his tolerance for the mess. Surely, he would see that it is just as well that he picked up his own dirty clothes.
By day four the enduring pile could be spotted from halfway up the hall. I observed in awe as my dear husband walked past the offensive mass as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. By day seven, the experiment had reached a turning point. Every pair of my dear husband’s boxers had been buried deep within the smoldering pile. My husband was forced to make a move. I observed closely as he stepped over the steaming heap, walked up to his emergency stash drawer, and pulled out a pair of Tighty Whiteys. Shock and awe wrung me numb as I watched my dear husband step back over the dirty clothes and walk away.
By day nine the stench of my experiment had seeped through the bedroom walls, following me into the living room.
“Would you like the remote, honey?” And while we’re at it, would you like to pick up your stinking clothes, too?
Then it followed me into the kitchen.
“How would you like your eggs?” Fried, poached, or scrambled with your oozing pile of dirty clothes?
Finally, I hung my head low and admitted defeat. I gathered and washed every speck of dirty laundry, regardless of the owner or location found. I resumed scooping up my husband’s dirty clothes. After all, the hamper was only three feet away, so what was the big deal? As time passed, laundry seemed less important on the scale of life, and I was free to pursue the person I was created to be in Christ. I have labeled my experiment a failure, but I have a suspicion that God considers the experiment a success.
God would have saved the Jewish race with or without Esther’s cooperation. Likewise, the Body of Christ will move forward whether or not I pick up my husband’s dirty clothes. Not that laundry is a vital component of God’s Great Plan, but if He can’t trust me with dirty clothes, then how on earth is He supposed to trust me with anything else?
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