Our vision for 2020 is expansion. Specifically, expansion by increase and pruning. We can already see the expansion taking place in this ministry, but how does expansion apply to our personal lives?
Expansion during the Old Testament included gaining more land. In 1 Chronicles 4:10 (NLT), Jabez prays, “Oh, that You would bless me and expand my territory.” When God expands our territory, He takes us to new places, unfamiliar territory. Expansion is never easy nor is it comfortable. Often, we do not know where exactly God is taking us or what His exact plans are. We have to enter into this season of expansion with blind trust.
One heroine of the Bible who unexpectedly experienced expansion in her life without knowing the complete purpose of it was Esther. In the first couple chapters of Esther, Esther went from living in the comfort and protection of her cousin Mordecai to becoming the Queen of Shushan. Imagine how Esther must have felt during this time. She had no idea that her life would change in such a drastic way so quickly. She did not have an inkling as to what purpose her new role as Queen would serve. This is exactly how expansion works. God will not reveal every detail to you upfront. He may give You a glimpse into His plans, but you will not know the full picture at the start. It is up to you to decide how you are going to respond to this season of expansion. Are you going to move willingly into this new position or season that God is calling you to? Or are you going to resist the move that God is making in your life?
Esther willingly moved into her new position. She accepted being uprooted from the comfort of her home and family, and she willingly did what was required of her once she moved into the palace. Due to her obedience and her willingness to trust what God was doing, God granted her wisdom and favor. Esther had favor with the King’s eunuch who gave her the best of everything. She had the top maidservants, the best room out of all the women, and was given extra perfumes and other beauty preparations for her night with the King. When it was Esther’s time to go before the King, she sought guidance from the King’s eunuch on what to take with her. This shows that God will go before us to prepare the way. He will give us favor with the right people and will give us the wisdom necessary to navigate our new territory. God does not just move us into a new season and leave us to fend for ourselves. He sets us up for success, but we have to be willing to follow His lead.
One thing Esther did not realize in the beginning was that this expansion was not just about her. Expansion is about more than just you. You will not be the only one benefitting from God expanding your territory. In Esther 4, Mordecai sends word to Esther regarding Haman’s plan to completely destroy the Jews. Instead of seeking God on how He could use her new position to save her people, she responded with fear and excuses. At times when God has moved us into a new position or season and all of a sudden we are faced with trouble, our initial response is to retreat in fear. During these times, we need someone like Mordecai to bring us back to reality. After receiving Esther’s fear filled response, Mordecai basically told Esther to not rely on her new position as Queen for protection, that God would deliver the Jews with or without her, and that God placed her in this position as Queen for this very moment in time. These are the types of friends and family we need to surround ourselves with. We need those who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.
Mordecai’s directness was all Esther needed to stir up her spirit and give her the boldness she needed to go before the King to make her request. I’m sure Esther went before the King afraid. She did not know what the outcome would be. Yes, she hoped and prayed for favor, but in reality she did not know what God’s plan was. Sometimes in our season of expansion, we have to do things afraid. Not knowing the details or what the outcome will be is terrifying, but we have to trust that God knows what He is doing and is doing what is best for us.
This is our year of expansion and we must prepare for this new season. As you prepare for your expansion, think about the following:
What area of your life is God trying to expand? Are you resisting this season of expansion due to fear of the unknown? How is your season of expansion going to impact others? Who are the Mordecais in your life?