Everyone loved Gaston. The men wanted to be Gaston. The women wanted to marry Gaston. He was the village hero. He was the man who led the hunts that provided the food. The problem with Gaston was that he knew all of his strengths and began to believe his press clippings. It was all about him. He could have anything he wanted and he wanted the most beautiful girl in the village. Everyone agreed that she would be lucky to have him. The wedding plans were made. There was only one thing to do: he would ask Belle to marry him. The bigger problem Gaston had was that Belle didn’t want Gaston. If you’ve ever seen “The Beauty and the Beast” that’s a familiar story. Gaston was one of those people who thought it was all about him, and that failure led to his demise.
Haman’s ego was pumped. He had figured out how to deal with his Mordecai problem. He was probably whistling as he walked to the palace that day to meet the king who had fought with insomnia, given up, and had the scribes read to him about his kingdom as a bed time story. It caused a face palm moment as the King realized, just as Haman was walking up. Mordecai had saved the king’s life and no one had honored him for that. So, the king asked his trusted advisor what to do. “When Haman entered, the king asked him, ‘What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?’ Now Haman thought to himself, ‘Who is there that the king would rather honor than me?’” (Esther 6:6)
Haman saw no trick in the question. The king was asking how he could honor Haman for his greatness. Yes, it was all about him. The king wasn’t going to be so crass as to say, “Haman, how should I honor you?” so Haman knew that the king was planning to surprise him with the question and Haman came up with an amazing way to honor himself. Then the king revealed his plan. Haman would be the one showing honor, not the one receiving it. Even worse, the king wanted to honor Mordecai. Mordecai – that insolent Jew who didn’t pay Haman the proper honor, and now Haman was to honor him for the king. When it was done, Haman went home to cry. He didn’t have long to cry because the king’s servants came to get him for the banquet. Still, the humiliation stung.
It is said that General William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, sent a telegraph Christmas message to the soldiers in the Salvation Army. His one-word message: “others” is still a poignant challenge for all of us today. Haman’s ego tripped him up and caused all kinds of problems for him. We often have that same problem. We begin to think that it’s all about us. Face up to the truth, now. Haven’t you at one time or another mused about how lucky God was to have you as a follower? Even if only for a second or two? Haven’t you ever thought about how great this world if everyone followed Christ like you do? The story of Haman should remind us of the problems that our ego brings. We end up getting in the way of God’s work instead of causing His work to flourish. We want credit for all we do because we deserve it, forgetting how much can be accomplished if we don’t worry about who gets credit. The example we need to follow is that of General Booth and remember to think of others. The example we need to follow is that of Jesus who went to the cross and died willingly for others.
Lord, I act as if things are all about me. Remind me that it’s all about You. Remind me also that even though it’s all about You, You are all about others. Help me to care for others as You would. Give me a heart that seeks to love others as You have loved them.