Bible Insights

Mordecai Receives Honor for Saving the King

Our Reason for Doing Good Shouldn’t Be for Recognition but Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

Mordecai, a noble man, raises his orphaned cousin, Esther. Mordecai’s nemesis is Haman. Though Haman has everything going for him, he doesn’t enjoy it. This is because Mordecai refuses to give Haman the respect he thinks he deserves.

Haman so hates Mordecai that he wants to kill him, along with all the other Jews throughout the kingdom. This is the setting for today’s story.

One night the king can’t sleep. He asks one of his aides to read from the book chronicling his reign. The aide reads about the account of Mordecai when he thwarted an assassination attempt of the king.

Reminded of the situation, the king asks what honor Mordecai received for his heroic deed.

“Nothing,” the aide responds.

At that moment, Haman waits in the court for a chance to ask the king’s permission to hang Mordecai. When the king learns Haman is nearby, he calls for him—unaware of Haman’s intent. The king asks Haman what should be done for someone who the king wants to honor.

Haman egotistically assumes the king wants to honor him and gives the answer of what he would most want for himself. But the king surprises Haman when he tells him to go honor Mordecai in that exact way.

Mortified, Haman does as instructed. Mordecai receives honor in the way Haman had wanted for himself. Then Haman goes home in shame.

When the king’s life was threatened, Mordecai did what was right. And the king didn’t even thank him for it. It wasn’t until later—likely much later—that the king honors Mordecai for his noble deed.

When we do what is right or help others, we may see immediate recognition. Or we may receive a delayed appreciation—just like how Mordecai receives honor in today’s story. Or we might never receive any praise at all for our noble actions.

Yet God knows all that we do and appreciates it, even if others don’t.

Though the acclaim of others is nice, doing what’s right—regardless of the recognition we receive—is what matters. Our motivation shouldn’t be to gain attention or receive the applause of others.

Instead, we should be quiet and humble, doing what is right and good in secret. Then God will reward us for it (Matthew 6:1-4). And that’s what counts.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Esther 5-7 and today’s post is on Esther 6:3.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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