Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If the Claw Fits

So [Haman] answered the king, “For the man the king delights to honor,

Then let the robe and horse be entrusted to one of the king’s most noble princes. Let them robe the man the king delights to honor, and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, ‘This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!’”

“Go at once,” the king commanded Haman. “Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate. Do not neglect anything you have recommended.”

So Haman got the robe and the horse. He robed Mordecai, and led him on horseback through the city streets, proclaiming before him, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!”

Afterward Mordecai returned to the king’s gate. But Haman rushed home, with his head covered in grief...  Esther 6:7, 9-12

The reward Haman requested for the unnamed recipient was obviously Haman himself, at least in his own mind. Haman was practicing half of the Golden Rule: “as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). He just forgot the “Do unto others” part. But, the reward wasn’t for Haman.

After learning that the honor went to Mordecai, Haman quickly toppled from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat. Haman had to parade Mordecai through the city and proclaim, “This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!” I would imagine that coming up with a smile was more than a challenge for Haman.

We are all naturally jealous. Maybe we’re not proclaiming the good deeds of our archrival like Haman. We don’t have to go that far to be jealous. If a co-worker gets a promotion or a friend gets a new car, what is our first reaction? Do yo think “Good for you. Way to go” or "I work as hard as he does. Why didn't I get that?" Are our first thoughts jealous thoughts or generous thoughts?

Someone asked years ago, “How do you keep crabs in a basket? You don’t need a lid. You just need two crabs. One will make sure that the other doesn’t escape the basket.” I hate to admit that sometimes the claw fits.

The Bible tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15). If we were honest, we would admit that often it’s easier to mourn with the mournful than rejoice with the joyful. I’m not saying that we’re a bunch of Eeyores ready to darken anyone’s day. We’re probably more like crabs.

When someone is suffering, we can pray for them. We can offer our help. We can lift them up. Often when something good happens, there’s nothing for us to do, except maybe envy them. They don’t seem to need our prayer. After all, they’ve succeeded. They don’t need our help. They don’t need to be lifted. They’re already up there. We wouldn’t want them to get a big head or anything. Maybe our job is to keep them humble amid their success. Maybe we need to get over ourselves.

There is something poetic about Haman honoring Mordecai at the king’s request. I don’t think Mordecai took advantage of the situation. I don’t think Mordecai was haughty. I doubt that he gloated. He doesn’t strike me as being that kind of man.

We can certainly cheer Mordecai’s success and even Haman’s humiliation. We all want the good guys to finish first – the tortoise to beat the hare, the underdog and the dark horse to get the advantage. We want the force to be with us. This calls for a little excessive jubilation in the end zone of life. But, we are not called to rub other people’s noses in it.

The Bible tell us to “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). It’s not our job to lift ourselves up. It’s our job to humbly submit ourselves to God. God does the heavy lifting.

Where do you feel that you need to assert yourself and your agenda today? Are you considering the good of everybody or just your own good? What signal have you received from God: Stop, Yield or Go?

Follow us on twitter:

To subscribe or leave a comment on the galatians419 devotional blog:

No comments:

Post a Comment