A Part To Play
Maybe you feel unequipped, inadequate or unqualified... Well, Esther reminds us that, "God is not fazed by human convention- our notions of who is significant or capable, mean nothing to him."
"There is room for us all to join the justice-family: a family of free people, freeing people, just where they are."
I wonder, how has all this justice-talk been sitting with you so far?
Does it resonate with you, where you are at?
Perhaps, for some of us, it feels like an exciting invitation into a life lived for others- a chance to consider the question, ‘what do I stand for?’
‘What are the characteristics of God’s heart that I am chasing after?’
For others of us, it may seem like this ‘justice thing’ is a little hard to get a grasp on; it seems out of reach; too much, too soon.
Perhaps you don’t feel qualified. Equipped. ‘Sorted’ enough.
So far we have looked at three of the key justice-heroes in the Exodus narrative, and it is worth highlighting that each of the Exodus characters here are women: not because women have an exclusive role to play in fighting injustice- far from it, we know that the call to live a life of justice is a call for all of us.
But rather, in both Hebrew and Egyptian society, women were socially powerless. They were not allowed to own property but were seen as property. They had no political power and were not taken seriously in either social or religious debate.
But God is not fazed by human convention- our notions of who is significant or capable, mean nothing to him.
He is capable of using the simplest, smallest of actions to bring him glory- indeed we see in the Exodus story how simple obedience does, indeed, change history.
We can take comfort that the call to justice is not reserved to an elite minority: you know, the Toms-wearing, vegetarian-eating, keep-cup-carrying few. (Though yes I am wearing Toms, I don’t eat much meat, I do have a keep cup… pray for me).
No, the call to justice is for all of us.
A willing heart with open hands is all that is required.
We all have a crucial part to play.
In fact, Moses, the baby in the basket who goes on to set a whole nation free, was hardly a heroic figure himself. Have a read of his story in Exodus 2. Moses was by no means whiter than white. He was a man with a shady past who felt like he didn’t fit in… He kills a guy, he runs away, he is a coward at times and, to top it off, he can’t even speak properly!
Yet, the very fact that Moses is available to set a nation free,
That he goes on to lead his people through the red sea,
That they experience miraculous provision,
That they enter a place of rescue and restoration, is due to the bravery, tenacity, kindness, and faith of a whole series of unlikely, often unqualified people who bought justice in different ways.
A whole chain of free people who free people.
In IJM, this is something we know to be true:
We work as a team across the globe- each person plays their part where they are, and no one person gets the credit above another.
And there is room for us all to be part of the story:
From the intercessors crying out on their knees,
To the social activists campaigning for truth,
From lawyers pouring over casework,
To partners that give generously, social workers who walk with survivors through journeys of freedom, councillors who work through the trauma-
To poets who paint pictures of freedom with words, to those who tell stories of hope,
From conscious consumers who will not wear the threads of slavery, to students who give their time and their talents to the cause,
From those who embed themselves in their local community and search for those who are unseen, to those who simply say in their heart, ‘my heart is breaking too.’
From those who are called to go, to bring rescue, to the least, the last and the lost,
There is room for all to join the justice-family: a family of free people, freeing people, just where they are.
Whether you believe you are qualified or not, take comfort from the unlikely stories of Exodus that we all have a part to play, whatever our age, status or social position.
Will you be part of the story?
Esther studied at Durham University, before spending some time in teaching, and most recently working for the International Justice Mission. She is married to Tom and lives in the North East.