The story of Esther is a real rags-to-riches Cinderella story. It is truly a fairy tale—the good guys are rewarded, the bad guys are punished, and everyone lives happily ever after. However, Esther’s problems are slightly more serious than a lost glass slipper and mean stepsisters.
Just like Cinderella, Esther was a common young woman of beauty and grace. When the king began searching for a new queen, Esther was, despite her low standing on the social ladder, brought in as an option. She spent an entire year making “beauty preparations” according to the customs. Imagine what she must have been thinking for an entire year—after being accustomed to the hardworking life of a peasant, she was thrown into a world where things were being given to her. And yet, she maintained her grace and found “favor in the eyes of all who saw her” (Est. 2:15). And then, after a year of preparation and anticipation came a defining moment in Esther’s life. The king “set the royal crown on her head and made her queen” (Est. 2:17).
Think for a moment about what this meant. Esther had spent an entire year waiting for this moment, wondering if it would ever come. Now that it was here, it represented a huge change in her life. She was no longer Esther, cousin of Mordecai, a common Jewish girl. She was Esther, Queen of Persia. But the “happily ever after” doesn’t come quite yet. Esther had been hiding her identity as a Jew, but as the crown was placed upon her head, it was heavy with the responsibilities it held: the responsibilities to the king, to her people, and to her God. Under the weight of that crown, Esther had influence. She could make a difference.
But even though she could make a difference, Esther was wary at first. There were huge stakes—her life, the lives of her family, and the lives of an entire people were riding on her decisions. A little bit more stressful than a lost shoe, don’t you think? Mordecai’s wise words resonated in her mind and reminded her of her responsibility and influence: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14)
Esther knew what she had to do. She ended up saving her people, and, because of her bravery, many others in the kingdom began to serve the true God. (Est. 8:17) After her defining moment of being crowned queen, Esther lived up to her responsibility and used it for God’s glory.
Like Esther, we have a responsibility as Christians. Matthew tells us to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). Just like the Jews’ lives were in danger, there are souls on the line today! It is our responsibility to live in a way that lets the light of the Gospel shine to those around us.
We may not ever be crowned queen of a kingdom or rescue an entire race from impending doom, but our responsibility and influence are no less important than those of Esther. We can live up to our responsibility just as Esther did. As Ephesians 6 encourages, take the armor of God and “shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.” After all, if the shoe fits, wear it!