Another level of being nothing

1 Corinthians 1:29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

1 Corinthians 1:31 …..He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.

Innate in fallen human nature is the desire to be great. The desire to be admired. The desire to be applauded. We learn to excel at many things to gain the accolades we desire. They become our life’s fuel.

And then….Jesus. When we meet Him it changes everything. In the fervor of first love we would willingly become less than nothing that He might be all. But then we gain spiritual knowledge and step out into some ministry or other…and well meaning people praise us. It is at this point that those old prideful desires make an appearance, and sometimes they become the driving force of our spiritual life.

We want to write the best blog, record the best video, create the most spiritually relevant posts. Our adrenaline level mirrors our “likes”. We begin to live for the praise of men, although we would never admit it (and possibly may not even be aware of it).

Until eventually we find that everything we’ve been giving our life to is wood, hay and stubble and Jesus is in none of it.

It is time to come to another level of being nothing, that Christ may be all.

Is that you, Haman?

The name Haman means “magnificent” and Haman certainly seemed to want to live up to his name. The first mention of Haman is when he was elevated to a position of prominence by King Ahasuerus. In fact, he was elevated above all the other princes in the kingdom and the king commanded that everyone bow and pay homage to Haman. That seems pretty magnificent. But it wasn’t enough for Haman, because there was one man who refused to honor him – Mordecai (whose name means “little man”). Mordecai was no noble personage or prominent dignitary, but Haman was infuriated at Mordecai’s refusal to venerate him. His wrath was so great that he not only wanted to destroy Mordecai, but every single one of the Jews in the kingdom. And so the plotting began.

He formulated and finalized his plan.  The date was set for the extermination of the Jews and the elimination of Mordecai.  And now he waited.

The plot thickens – what Haman didn’t know was that Queen Esther was also a Jew, and when she was made aware of Haman’s plans she began seeking a way to undo what Haman had done.  It started with a private dinner party for the king and Haman, with neither of them yet knowing the purpose, except that Queen Esther asked them to return to another private dinner party the next day.  Haman returned to his house that evening and his response to the day is in classic Haman style:

Esther 5:11-13 Then Haman told them of his great riches, the multitude of his children, everything in which the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the officials and servants of the king. Moreover Haman said, “Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate.”

His desire to be honored by every single person overshadowed all else.  He couldn’t rejoice in any good that came to him because there was ONE person in the entire kingdom that didn’t honor him appropriately.

The next day all his plotting was exposed, Haman was hanged on the gallows that he had built to execute Mordecai and the book of Esther ends with the magnificent one being disgraced and the little man being elevated.

Beloved, pride is an ugly beast that will turn on you and tear you to pieces. If we are honest, we have all experienced a little bit (or maybe a lot) of Haman rising up in us at times.   We want to be noticed.  We want to be important.  We want people to think we are special.  But Jesus told us this: 

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  Mark 10:31

…but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.  Matthew 20:26

The servant of Jesus Chris does not seek his own honor and the building of his own kingdom. If everyone else is exalted and given a place of prominence, and you continue to be unnoticed, be assured that your Lord sees and knows. Any rewards, any reputation, any status we receive on earth will pass away. Heaven is the place for real and lasting rewards. You may feel like a “little man” but you are “magnificent” in Jesus. Maybe nobody else sees it. He does. That has to be enough.