No Reward, No Big Deal

Did you ever do something you felt you should be recognized for and nothing came your way? How did you react? Were you angry? Did you do something about your lack of recognition? If you’re human, you probably were angry. And maybe you didn’t lash out this last time, but at some point in the past you most likely have. That’s why Mordecai’s lack of reaction was surprising:

In those days, as Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate, Bigthan and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, became angry and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. And this came to the knowledge of Mordecai, and he told it to Queen Esther, and Esther told the king in the name of Mordecai. When the affair was investigated and found to be so, the men were both hanged on the gallows. And it was recorded in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king. – Esther 2:21-23, ESV

Mordecai did something big. He did something really big. He uncovered a plot to harm the king. Reporting this through Esther, Mordecai passed the relevant information to the appropriate people. As a result, Bigthan and Teresh were investigated, the facts showed the plot, and the two were executed as a result. However, we see no indication that Mordecai received any recogntion. The next verses start the discussion of Haman’s conspiracy, leaving the question open at this point in Scripture (though we will get an answer later on in Esther).

So what happened with Mordecai? As far as the Scriptures reveal, he steadfastly maintained his post. We don’t see any grumbles or complaints. We don’t see anything that indicates Mordecai did anything about being passed over. In fact, we see the opposite (Esther 5:9). When we see Mordecai react, it was to Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews.

As it turns out, Mordecai was eventually recognized (Esther 6). However, this wasn’t through any action of his own. The king couldn’t sleep and went through old records. He noted the actions of Mordecai and inquired as to whether or not Mordecai had been recognized. Mordecai had not. So here we learn what we assumed, that Mordecai’s actions had been forgotten. The king then determined that Mordecai should be recognized for his service to the kingdom.

As it turns out, the timing couldn’t have been any better. Mordecai’s recognition flew in the face of Haman’s plot and put fuel on the fire of Haman’s demise. One doesn’t have to think very long to come to the conclusion that Mordecai’s delayed recognition was influenced in some way by God. However, don’t jump to the conclusion that because you haven’t gotten recognition, that means God is going to deliver it in a spectacular way later, like He did with Mordecai.

The truth of the matter is that a lot of times, when we aren’t recognized it’s a failure by the appropriate people and there isn’t some major event pending our later recognition. We may never get the recognition that we should. At least, we won’t get the recognition here in this life. But we deserve recognition! This is when it’s good to face a hard truth: if we always wanted what we deserved, we would want Jesus not to forgive us, because we don’t deserve His forgiveness or His grace. We can get so worked up about being ignored, passed over, or overlooked that we forget what we do have. Let’s not dwell on what we don’t have. Instead, let’s focus on what we do.

After all, Mordecai didn’t dwell on being overlooked. He continued to faithfully do his job. And as Haman’s plan was revealed and it looked like it might work, we can conclude from Mordecai’s words to Esther that he had faith in God. Which is more important, the recognition of an earthly king or the reward of the King of kings? Mordecai seemed to understand the right answer to that question. Let’s do what we do because those actions are the right actions and not worry about recognition and reward. Let reward and recognition be no big deal. After all, compared to what we’ve been given by grace, they are no big deal.

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