These specific verses from Esther play out in my mind like the scene of the pivotal plot twist in a movie. We have access to the whole story, so we know that the king was contemplating how to honor Mordecai for his loyalty. We see Haman unintentionally set his own trap, and we watch as Haman’s prideful assumptions bring his public disgrace and ultimate death.
Maybe I cringe when I read the words because I know it’s far too easy to let pride and self-advancement creep into my life. I am reminded of a time when we tried to teach one of our young daughter’s about humility and she (ironically missing the point) said, “Yes, I am the best at being humble.” We’re all a work in progress, aren’t we?
Scripture specifically warns us about promoting our own self-worth. Proverbs 25:6-7
says, “Do not honor yourself before the king, and do not stand in the place of great men….” At a wedding banquet, Jesus also specifically addressed this saying, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11
This idea can be hard because so many voices in this world tell us that we need to be bold, that we need to confidently assert ourselves, that we need to create our own success. We are called to boldly proclaim the gospel and to live so that people see Jesus, but there is nothing in Scripture that tells us to promote ourselves. Let us not be distracted by the person in the mirror. Let us not be tempted by our own self-righteousness.
Friends, the questions we must ask ourselves . . . What king do we really serve? Are the favor and honor that we long for of this world or eternal?
Our sovereign God loves us and pursues us – not because we have proven our worth, submitted our resume, auditioned for the part. He adopts us as a broken, sinful mess and asks that we die to self to fully live for Christ.
Earlier in the book, Mordecai challenged Esther to risk herself to save her people – to use her position and influence “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Friends, this is our time. You can minister to people from wherever you are today. You don’t need a bigger platform to be impressive. You don’t need more followers to make a splash. You don’t need a better title, a smaller waistline, a bigger salary, a stronger voice. God has always been in the business of working great miracles with ordinary people and humble roots.
God, grant us humble spirits that seek to serve – for such a time as this.