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As those seeking to be a devoted follower of Christ, we find inspiration and direction from the example and sacrifice of Queen Esther (Esther 4.16), who, at the urging of Mordecai, put her very life at risk in going before the king unannounced, in order to rescue her people from certain death. Her resignation, her lowliness and voluntarily placing herself in harm's way for her people, is a touchstone of what it means to follow Christ -- to risk everything for the accomplishment of God's will.

Tim Ladwig illustrated this signature painting, providing his own imaginative depiction of the defining moment for Esther in her unsummoned appearance before the king. Tim's artistic brilliance is reflected in this year's illustration, one that captures the elegance and innocence of a young daughter of Israel's remarkable courage for the sake of her people. Esther is a worthy example of what it means to follow Christ fully, regardless of the risk involved to personal safety and blessing.