Monday, February 4, 2008

300 Seconds

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: "Don't think for a moment that because you're in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

Part of Emerson's reputation and legacy is that of a man who sometimes offered poetry and philosophy that he alone could understand or appreciate. Case in point -- My wife had a class in American Literature in which her professor told the students regarding some of Emerson's works -- Don't worry I am not going to test you over this bit of Emerson's writing -- I don't understand it either!

However, this quote of Emerson's would not fall into that category of the nebulous and idiosyncratic. Instead he succinctly and brilliantly provides (though probably not intentionally) a biblical definition of bravery. Believers in particular would probably attest that the greatest moments in their life -- and moments that impacted the lives of others -- were determined by the choice to be brave (Christ-like) five minutes longer.

Bravery is extraordinarily rare.

The Old Testament Scripture cited captures an instance when a woman named Esther had to make the choice -- "Will I be ordinary, or will I remain brave for five minutes longer?" She had options. She could choose to keep silent, refuse to get involved, avoid the heat, or convince herself "deliverance and relief . . . will arise from some other place."

Look how Mordecai posed a question to Esther that focused her on the moment. "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" In essence he says, "Esther if you will be brave for five more minutes you will forever settle my question "Who knows. . . if this is Esther's moment?"

Esther stayed brave in the moment.

Esther spoke to the moment.

Esther learned -- it was her moment (not someone else's).

Esther's story is timely for our moments.

Moments that most profoundly shape our lives -- and the lives of others -- will come down to whether or not we will be brave 300 seconds longer.

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