ESTHER 9:29-32: Then Queen Esther, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew gave full written authority, confirming this second letter about Purim. Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, in words of peace and truth, that these days of Purim should be observed at their appointed seasons, as Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther obligated them, and as they had obligated themselves and their offspring, with regard to their fasts and their lamenting. The command of Esther confirmed these practices of Purim, and it was recorded in writing.”
One of the fondest memories I hold from my Navy days occurred on special days while being at sea for months at a time. It was before cellphones and email. It was a time of stamps, envelopes, and hand-written letters. And it was such a big deal. It was called “Mail Call” and would ring loudly throughout the ship’s general announcing system. Our designated mail clerk would gather the division’s mail and pass it out. It was so wonderful to lie in your bunk and read letters from home, not once, not twice, but many times over. That was one of the beauties of this now “old-fashioned” way of communication. Those letters didn’t get “archived” or moved to the “trash” or “deleted” files. They were physically held, cherished, and never grew old reading over and over again.
Today, we still get mail delivered to our homes, but most of it could probably go straight from the mailbox to the recycling bin. The days of “old-fashioned letter writing” have been overtaken by the quickness of a Facebook message, a text with an emoji, or a fast-typed email. And I think this is sad. In some ways, the personal touch is lost in electronic communications. I mean when I got a letter from my wife or mother while on deployment it was unique not only by their distinct handwriting but also from who it was from. I will confess, nothing like a tailor-made perfumed letter from my wife to hold and smell while lying awake in a bunk on a warship in the middle of some far away ocean. You just don’t get that “personal touch” from a text or email.
So, what about you? Apart from holidays, birthdays, and times of sympathy, have you recently received a hand-written note of encouragement and love from someone? Or, have you sent one to a brother or sister in the Lord recently? In today’s scripture, Esther had such letters written. The scripture reads, “Letters were sent to all the Jews, to the 127 provinces of the kingdom of Ahaserus, in words of peace and truth.” Yes, I know she didn’t have a laptop, phone, or access to the internet, but still, the personal touch is the personal touch
Let’s not neglect this “old-fashioned ministry” to other Christians. To get a nice “snail mail” card or letter just for the purpose of encouraging and showing love for one another speaks volumes. First it shows we are willing to take time to write. Sending a one-line text with a smiling emoji is easy. Getting a card or sitting down with pen and paper involves time, and it is time well spent. Another blessing of doing “old-fashioned ministry of writing” is that those cards and letters may be visited again and again as ongoing means of blessings and ministry. I confess, I keep those cards and letters in my desk and go to them when I am discouraged and feel like a failure. And so will those who receive these tokens of “old fashioned ministry” from us. So, set aside time this week, put the phone down or walk away from a computer, get a card or piece of paper, and with pen ask the Lord to give you a person or two to do some old fashioned ministry to.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to be creative in how I minister encouragement and love to Your people.”
QUOTE: “The power of the pen to bring encouragement must not be neglected by modern communications.”