Esther: “The Forgotten Man” by Ellen Parr

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Read Esther 2:19-4:14

So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last
(Matthew 20:16).

“Bless his heart.” For true Southerners, this phrase is lathered into our speech like butter on our biscuits. And it could be strung to the story of the man, Mordecai. Poor Mordecai is forgotten until the next church sermon or lesson on Esther. We name our babies David, Paul, Joseph, and even Moses or Joel. But Mordecai? Bless his heart. His story finds itself as a side note in a book named after his adopted daughter.

The forgotten are often cast into the lot of the unimportant and insignificant. However, while memorable is often linked to significance, it’s important to note that significance stems from and is often sourced in the insignificant. For example, Esther received a home and father figure in Mordecai when orphaned (see Esther 2:7, 20); and it’s from this humble home she moved to become Queen of Persia. Additionally, the life of King Xerxes was saved when the lowly gatekeeper, Mordecai, uncovered a murderous plot. While that threat was quickly dealt with, the rescuer was forgotten from memory (see Esther 2:21-23, 6:1-3). Royalty was established and spared because of a “nobody.”

Many around us feel overlooked and underappreciated, longing for that moment when they’ll hear the words, “Job well done,” or even the simple “You are valued and loved.” Perhaps you are the one who feels forgotten. How sad that the label of “less than” is often quietly attached to unrecognized roles. We have decided to pair visibility with value, and we’ve come to believe that value and worth are fleeting, not intrinsic. But for every Neil Tomba and Peyton Neill on stage, there are teams of crucial people behind the scenes designing bulletins, arranging stage lights, greeting at the doors, hosting a weekly small group, and serving in the nursery. Though Mordecai was a lowly exiled Jew from Judah and a gatekeeper at the palace, we would be quick to acknowledge his life as a valuable one. While the book is named after Esther, the last verse of it is given to Mordecai: “He was very great among the Jews, who held him in high esteem because he continued to work for the good of his people and to speak up for the welfare of all their descendants” (Esther 10:3). What a legacy!

Jesus came to shatter this world’s system of dispensing value by declaring that “The last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:16). God favors the forgotten and “insignificant”—a baby born in a stable, a doorkeeper named Mordecai, the stay-at-home mom. Titles and trophies, status and stars, are forgotten in God’s Kingdom. And the disregarded of this world are His recognized sons and daughters. Value stems from our relation to the Creator, not the value that others create for us. And for those of us in Christ, we have received favored love, like the love the Father has for His own Son (see John 17:23-24)! The faithful Mordecai will be remembered as one who brought strength to those around him and who helped saved many lives. That’s how Mordecai chose to live on his platform in Persia. What can you bring to your platform of significance?

 

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