When I was 29, it was easier for me to understand God made me beautiful. The year I turned 60, I stopped calling myself “middle aged”; It’s not likely I’ll live another 60 years here on this earth. I’m no longer in the “middle” of life; but am now firmly ensconced in the end part. In fact that’s about the only thing that is firm any more. As my body sags and bags, I puzzle to understand how God still sees me as beautiful despite the crepe paper skin, drooping eyelids and chicken waddle. Despite all the signs of aging, I recognize God made this body really well. Things still work—basically. I still walk and breathe and laugh and sing. And I’m still grateful every day I am able to do these things.
The Book of Esther is silent on Esther’s life after she helped God save her people. We have to use our imaginations to fill in the events of the rest of her life. Surely, she saw Mordecai more often; possibly even worked with him on ways to benefit the Jews or ensure their sense of community. As Queen, she no doubt lived out her life in luxury within the palace walls. Perhaps she had children, maybe even grandchildren. Perhaps her natural womanly desire for a family became a reality.
Before a young woman’s turn came to go into King Xerxes’ palace, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics(Esther 2:12).
Based on the year-long preparation Esther went through before she was first seen by the King, she likely continued to have her body taken care of throughout her life as Queen. No doubt, Esther grew old gracefully. Her beauty likely matured over time; continuing to call out to others and gather them to her as a reflection of God’s love; His beauty shining through her.
Are we able to grow old gracefully, too? Whatever physical shape we are in, we are responsible for our bodies. In Genesis, God gave mankind stewardship over the entire world. But the very first thing He gave us personal stewardship over was our own bodies. We may have husbands, children, neighbors and friends we are responsible for taking care of, but first and last, God gave us stewardship over ourselves. He intends us to take care of ourselves as best we can—both physically and spiritually. If we are not in our best shape physically, how can we effectively be His hands and feet in this world, accomplishing His purpose? If we are not in our best shape spiritually, how will we even know what His purpose is and how He can use us?
Esther spent one full year caring for her body to make it the best it could be for her King. Yes, she was young and firm at the time. Yes, she was more beautiful than most other women. The point is that she took care of her body, and she did it for one purpose: To please the King.
Everything in heaven and earth belongs to God—the planet, the stars, the oceans and even us(Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 50:10; Psalm 50:12; 1 Chronicles 29:11).
He created us and we all belong to Him. Even people who do not know Him still belong to Him. That doesn’t just mean our souls, but also our physical bodies. He has only given us responsibility for them while we are in this physical world.
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2).
The responsibility over our bodies is a deep trust because our bodies are where the Holy Spirit—God Himself—resides.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
God gave each of us a body that is beautiful in His eyes. He gave us a body that can be used by Him. He gave us a body He meant for us to care for. These bodies are the hands and feet God uses in this world to accomplish His plan and purpose; they are the tools that God has created. If we fail to care for our bodies, God’s tools are not as strong or effective as they could be. The fault is not God’s; it is ours when we fail to care for them the way we should.
Esther was treated with oil of myrrh for six months before she was presented to King Xerxes. Myrrh was used to consecrate and anoint people for power and to consecrate the Jewish priests to holy use. Have we allowed Jesus to anoint us for power and to consecrate us to holy use by Him?
If Esther were here she would say this was her story. She knew the importance of caring for her body and knew that her beauty enabled her to accomplish God’s purpose.
Who are we to God? When we recognize our duty to care for our bodies in a godly manner, we understand how He might see His women of faith. We can answer:
I am (like) Esther.
For Thought and Discussion
• Think about the miracles going on in your body. List as many as you can and thank God for each of them.
• How are you doing taking care of the body God gave you? What should you be doing that you’re not? What should you stop doing?
• How might you be hindering God from using you to the fullest?
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the bodies you have given us. We’re sorry when we don’t appreciate them fully or take care of them the way you want us to. Please help us do a better job, Holy Spirit,and show us how you would like us to be your hands and feet in this world. Amen.
Carol Peterson, Author, is a member of the Ruby Blogger Team and a regular contributor to the Ruby for Women as a book reviewer. You can connect with Carol on her blog, http://www.carolpetersonauthor.com