August 12, 2008
Modesty and Authenticity
by Charles R. Swindoll
Esther exhibited an unselfish modesty and authenticity. Think of it: no job, no responsibility, no cooking, no clean-up, no washing, no ironing, no errands, no budget-watching, no holding back in any area. Imagine! Pampered and indulged, in this self-centered harem of Persia, all of the emphasis rests upon her becoming a woman of greater physical beauty. Jewelry, clothing, perfumes, cosmetics, whatever she wishes, from coiffure to pedicure, are hers. The only thing on everyone's mind is to win this contest---to please the king and gain his favor.
Remember, at this time Esther cannot be more than twenty years old or so, and she could have been even younger. This is a chance of a lifetime for her to have whatever she wishes. Instead, she remains true to what she has been taught and abides by the counsel of Mordecai, believing that he knows what's best for her. She does not succumb to the temptation around her---the superficiality, the selfishness, the seduction, the self-centeredness. She displays an unselfish modesty, an authenticity, amid unparalleled extravagance.
As ironic as that may sound, I think that most Christian women do not use cosmetics to appear false or become other than who they are. The women we admire use cosmetics to subtly enhance the natural beauty that is already there. I'm sure that was true of Esther.
Frankly, I'm convinced that Esther went in to the king without fear because she had no driving ambition to be queen. Her life didn't revolve around her physical appearance or making a king happy. She was there for one reason: because she knew that the hand of God was on her life, and through circumstances and Mordecai's wisdom, she had been brought to this place for a reason. To use one of my favorite expressions, she had her stuff together. She knew where she was coming from. She knew who she was. She knew what she believed. And she knew that God's hand was on her life. If it was His pleasure that she be here, if it was part of His plan, then she would willingly accept it. If not, she would willingly relinquish it. She was modest about her own person, and she was authentic.
Can you say the same thing about yourself? After all, God's hand is on your life too.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.