Esther 2:10 – 11 “Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her.”
As God’s people, we are often urged to be bold about our beliefs. We are told that if we are true believers, we will shout our love for God from the rooftops, loudly proclaiming His goodness. We are taught that we should be proud of our status as God’s children, and tell everyone we see that we belong to Him.
But friends, there is a time and a place for everything. Esther’s situation clearly illustrates that yes, there is a time to keep quiet about who we are. If Esther had spoken up too soon, she might have never become queen, and God’s plan might have been hindered. So instead, she lived out her faith while keeping her mouth shut. Sometimes, by being too bold and too forward, we actually hinder God’s work. Rather than drawing people to Him, we can drive them away when we fail to use wisdom about when to speak, and when to keep quiet.
Intolerance for God’s people is nothing new. People couldn’t stand the Jews in Esther’s day, and for centuries there have been those who have tried to completely eliminate them from the human race. It is no surprise that Christians are treated with intolerance, as well. Sometimes we just need to keep quiet, and bide our time, waiting for God to make His move.
As you are reading this, there are missionaries throughout the world who are working under cover. They hold jobs that don’t relate to ministry or church work. They don’t talk much about what they believe. But they live their lives so that people can see God – through their actions. And over time, their actions speak louder than words. Over time, people begin to wonder what is different, and they start asking questions. Because these missionaries have earned the right to be heard, their words – when they finally do speak – carry much weight.
Even for those of us who are not “under cover” missionaries, there is a time to keep quiet. Perhaps in our jobs, we are working for an unbelieving boss. It might not be appropriate to boldly try to convert this person to Christianity. Perhaps it would be more effective to just quietly be the best employees we can be, living our faith. Or maybe we have a neighbor who is hostile toward God. Our words about His goodness and love will probably just cause them to resist Him even more. But our loving actions, over time, will perhaps cause them to be curious about Him, and to seek Him.
Let us strive to be like Esther, using wisdom in our speech. Let us consider our words carefully, and let our actions speak for us when words aren’t needed.
Dear Father, Please help me to know when to speak boldly and when to keep quiet.