Esther 7: What Is the Value of Human Life?
Esther 7 made me think about the value of human life. Esther clearly recognized that life was something precious.
Est 7:3 Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:
Est 7:4 For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish. But if we had been sold for bondmen and bondwomen, I had held my tongue, although the enemy could not countervail the king’s damage.
Notice that her first statement regards her life and the lives of her people. Then, she emphasizes that point by saying that if they had been sold to be slaves, she would not have made this request. The problem started when lives were going to be at stake.
Now, I live about an hour away from New Hampshire, and the state motto there is “Live Free or Die.” I don’t think that Esther would agree with that. There is something intrinsically valuable about being alive that goes beyond freedom.
However, what is that?
I think that Paul can tell us something about that value that exists even without freedom. He wasn’t a slave, but he spent an awful lot of time under lock and key as a prisoner for the cause of Christ.
Php 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Verse 21 really hits it home. For the Christian, there really is nothing wrong with death because we know that we’re going to a better place. However, when we live, we are supposed to be alive to serve Jesus. That is one obvious thing that is hard to do when we have passed on. We can’t be working on earth sharing the good news with people when we are no longer here.
Of course, that good news itself is the most important thing we can ever hear and internalize while we are alive, so that is also arguably the most important part of life. If we have never made that decision for Jesus while we are on earth, death is indeed a frightening thing.
I know that there are many, many reasons for valuing human life, and maybe I’ll emphasize more of them later. However, I wanted to particularly highlight this particular scenario today. Life has value because it is the time that we are given to serve Jesus on earth, and the entire purpose of that service is to bring people including ourselves to a saving knowledge of Jesus Himself. We carry a very important message, and we are carrying it to people who are walking an eternally dangerous road. Our destiny relies on really one simple decision that we make during this short amount of time. I think that that means this seemingly short blip on the screen of eternity incredibly valuable.
Esther was indeed right when she argued that there is value on human life regardless of the conditions that we find ourselves in.