When God scans the earth for potential leaders, He is not on a search for angels in the flesh. He is certainly not looking for perfect people, since there are none. He is searching for men and women like you and me, mere people made up of flesh, bone, and blood. But He is also looking for certain qualities in those people, like the qualities He found in Esther.
What did God see in Esther? Esther sustained a continually teachable spirit. Our acute need is to cultivate a willingness to learn and to remain teachable. Learning from your children. Learning from your friends. Learning even from our enemies.
Esther remains a sterling example for women today. Some women are wonderfully gifted teachers. You may have the ability to stand before a group and to open the Scriptures. Others may distinguish themselves in public service. You may be well-travelled and well-educated. But let me ask, has that changed your teachability? Are you, like Esther, still willing to listen and learn from others?
The Hebrew word sakal means “instructed.” The sakal person is teachable. No matter how fast the promotion or how high the exaltation, we are never to lose our teachability. We never reach a level where we are above criticism or we no longer need the input of others.
Esther did what Mordecai told her as she had done when under his care (Esther 2:10, 20). She stood before the king 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.
Remember, at this time Esther cannot be more than 20 years old or so, and she could have been even younger. This is the 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 he knows what’s best for her.
Esther does not succumb to the temptation around her—the superficiality, the selfishness, the seduction, and self-centredness. She knew who she was. She knew where she was coming from. To use one of my favorite expressions, she had her stuff together.
Frankly, I’m convinced that Esther went in to the king without fear because she had no driving ambition to be queen. Again, 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, she was authentic, and she was teachable.
What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His—completely. God gives extraordinary tasks to ordinary people to reveal His faithfulness. Do you long to please Him in your actions? Do you care about the motives behind your actions? Do you have a heart for God? Are you teachable?
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville, Tenn.: W Publishing Group, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005), 102, 119, 196–197.