Around 450 years before the time of Jesus, God’s people were in exile under the Persian Empire. A plot arose to destroy the Jewish people, but God, in his providence, had placed Esther, a young Jewish girl, as the queen of Persia to appeal to the king and save her people. She did this at great personal risk. When her uncle, Mordecai, became aware of the plot, he sent word to Esther and urged her to “go into the king’s presence to beg for mercy and plead with him for her people” (Esther 4:8). At that time in that culture, anyone who entered uninvited into the king’s presence would be executed, unless the king chose to extend his scepter to them to spare their life. Even the queen. Esther understandably balked. But Mordecai urged: “if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but… who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (v 14). God will sovereignly accomplish his purposes. But he has placed you here for such a time as this. Will you be available for him to use you… or will he use someone else? Esther trusted in God’s sovereign plan, extended herself to appeal to the king, and God used her to save many people.
For such a time as this. Those words regularly ring in my mind and stir my soul. I am called to follow Jesus like every other brother and sister in Christ throughout history—seeking to respond to his grace and love toward me by living to glorify him and enjoy him forever as a witness for him to the world. That’s every Christian’s general calling. But he has placed me—and you—right here, right now for such a time as this. And so I ask myself, “What is the unique opportunity to join God in his mission that I have by virtue of where he has sovereignly placed me at this place and point in history?”
He has placed you with your unique sphere of influence and relational connections right where you are… in your family, your neighborhood, your place of work, your associations. No one else in history has those same connections and opportunities to the specific people in your life. Who knows but that God has placed you here for such a time as this? How does he want to use you for his kingdom?
The same question applies to us as a church. There may be many ways we could answer this question, but I am utterly convinced that one way we must answer it is that God has placed GRC right here, right now to reach out to the world’s least reached peoples.
We know that God’s heart and mission is to draw people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to faith in Christ (Gen 12:3; Matt 24:14; Rev 5:9-10; 7:9-10). Those who study these things tell us that nearly 30% of people groups in the world today are “unreached.” That means that less than 2% of their population claims to follow Jesus, and so they have virtually no access to the gospel unless someone crosses cultural barriers to reach them. But less than 3% of the world’s missionary force supplied with 1% of the world’s missions funding goes to these people.
But God has brought them here (see Acts 17:26-27). You live, work, and play amongst them. We have an incredible opportunity that few churches in history or around the world have had. God has placed us in a metro area where the greatest number of unreached people groups reside than in any other city in the world or throughout history. Let that sink in. Great opportunity brings great responsibility. In light of God’s heart for the nations and the strategic priority of reaching the unreached, how can we not conclude that God has placed us here as a church for such a time as this?
I urge you to register for the Missions Conference (Sat AM, 3/23) to learn more about this and how God can use us to minister to “The Unreached Within Reach.”
Steve Sage is our Pastor of Discipleship.