Last week, I mentioned Moses as an excellent example of what it means to be ready – able and available – to speak.
Another great case study is Esther. Like Moses, Esther knew her people were oppressed and in danger. A decree had been passed to kill all the Jewish people in the land. She had to speak up to save them.
In fact, as you read the book of Esther in the old testament (it’s only ten short chapters – and a fascinating read!), the fact that she needed to speak was clear. The message she had been asked to deliver was also clear.
However, before she was ready to speak, she had to do something else. She had to listen.
Just because an idea occurs to you doesn’t mean that it’s the time to say it – even if you believe it’s from God. Esther is a beautiful example of that.
As the recounting goes on, we see that Esther has to wait and listen. Not discerning the right time and place could mean peril for her and all her people.
In preparation, Esther receives wise counsel from her uncle. She invites people to pray and fast with her. To wait on God. To listen for the divine guidance and discernment. And even when she is invited to speak to the king, she waits. She listens to his royal highness in order to take the best approach with her request.
Listening is a foundational part of one of the vital skills the next generation – and we, their coaches and guides – need for success in all areas of life: cultural intelligence. Not only do we need to wait for an opportunity to speak; we need to learn to wait for the audience to be ready to hear it.
Esther’s prayers and patience opened her to God’s direction. To move her not to speak too soon. To feed the receptivity of the king by extending invites to him and getting to know him better over dinner. Then, when the time was right, she was able to speak effectively and with incredible results.
You can get any platform once, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be invited again. Preparation is so crucial to being able to make an impact with our words.
What are some situations in your life where pausing to seek wise counsel and listen to God were vital to success? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.