Family Bytes

Want to Be Known? Do this one thing.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane ... back to high school. How would you define your high school experience? Amazing... Boring... Torture?  

This next question may be a little harder. 

How do you think your classmates remember you? Athletic ... Smart ... Outgoing ... Shy? 

Maybe they do not remember you at all.

We all want to be remembered or known for something. Something great, noble, remarkable and lasting. We want to make our mark and be significant. The question then becomes, are we pursing that life? A life that is great, noble, remarkable and lasting?

If so, how are we pursuing it?

In a Shadow

The book of Esther opens with the King of Persia, Xerxes, hosting a 180-day elaborate celebration encouraging people to, “Look at {his} greatness!” 

A little historical background to help us make sense of Xerxes and his quest for acclaim is that he is the son of King Darius ... called “THE GREAT” -  a title I doubt he gave himself. 

Darius was a mighty warrior and an effective leader.  In Darius’s lifetime, he built a wealthy empire stretching from modern day Pakistan to northern Africa. This is the kingdom Xerxes inherited.  

I have little doubt Xerxes was living in the shadow of his father’s accomplishments and I imagine he grew tired of hearing about the battles his father fought, the wars he won and the wealth he had accumulated. 

The young king wanted to climb out from under his father’s reputation. He wanted to make the case for his own greatness.  So, he threw an extravagant, six-month celebration … for himself. 

His guests were wined, dined and pampered with ample opportunity to hear, learn, and repeat the only important lesson of the event: Xerxes is a great guy!  

Seven days into the party, Xerxes does something I find strange. He parades his beautiful wife in front of the drunken guests. 

As I read this part of the story, I imagined Xerxes behaving like that drunk and obnoxious co-worker at the office holiday party, “Take a look at my wife.  Guys this woman is F.I.N.E! She can’t get enough of me. That’s right ... I AM A STUD! GREAT with the ladies!”

Here is the thing that just jumps off the page as I read Esther 1. None of the things Xerxes used to show his greatness are anything he earned. His wealth, titles, and position in the world came from his father

Even his wife’s beauty belongs to someone else ... his wife.

Everything Xerxes employs to make a case for his own greatness has been given to him. 

We all want to be known for something. Intentionally or not, sometimes we use people like Xerxes used his family and party guests.

Here are a few questions to ask: 

  • What do I want to be known for? Success, parenting, a picture-perfect family?
  • Why do I want to be known for that? What shadow am I trying to escape? 
  • Who am I using to achieve my goals?
  • What impact is that having on my relationships? 
  • What impact does my behavior have on my reputation? 
Another King’s Example

Xerxes uses others. He manipulates his guests, his father’s reputation and his bride’s beauty.  But there is another king we can follow – a better king - Jesus.

Let’s compare. 

King Xerxes       King Jesus
Makes alliances          Builds Relationships Matthew 11:28
Arrogant (His Kingdom)    Humble Phil 2:8, John 10:30
Competitive with his Father   Points us to His Father’s Greatness, John1:1, 14
Uses his bride Lays down his life for His bride, the Church, Ephesians 5: 25-27

Whether you are a person of faith or not, you have heard of Jesus. However, most of us aren’t very familiar with Xerxes.  

Why? Because Jesus is known for love, and love is memorable. 

How will you be remembered?

Posted by Freddie Albaugh at 6:00 AM
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