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Trivial Pursuit

Esther 3:5 “And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not,
nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.”
Haman is one of the
most hated individuals in the history of the Jewish people. When his name is
mentioned in the Orthodox synagogues, the men will shout, “Let his name be
blotted out!”  Some of the more
religious Orthodox Jews will even hiss. If they have canes, they will beat them
on the floor at the mention of Haman’s name.
Haman was the prime
minister of the mighty, affluent nation of Persia.  He was the favorite of King Ahasuerus.  Mordecai was a Jew who had been taken
captive out of the city of Jerusalem. When Haman walked by, everyone was
commanded to bow before him. Mordecai, however, refused to bow, or to show
reverence to him. While thousands of people bowed before Haman, Mordecai stood
alone and refused to bow.
Haman was furious
at the audacity of this Jew who refused to show reverence to him. He became so
infuriated that he went to King Ahasuerus and asked his permission to massacre
all of the Jews. Since Haman was the king’s favorite, his request was granted.  King Ahasuerus decreed that every Jew
in the kingdom was to be put to death on a date specified by the king. Can you
imagine such a terrible thing? 
Because one Jew refused to bow, every Jew was to be put to death!
Haman hated
Mordecai so much that he wanted to be personally responsible for Mordecai’s
death. He began the construction of the gallows to hang Mordecai.
One night the king
could not sleep, so he commanded his servants to bring him the records of the
kingdom.  While he was reading
these chronicles, it was brought to his attention that Mordecai had once saved
his life by reporting two gatekeepers who had planned an assassination.
According to the records, he had never been rewarded or honored for this noble
While the king was
reading this, Haman just happened to be standing outside his chambers, waiting
to see him. The king called him in and told him someone in the kingdom had done
something great for the king and deserved to be honored. He asked Haman for
some suggestions of ways to honor this person.  Since he did not mention Mordecai’s name, Haman assumed the
king was talking about him. Haman suggested a parade in this person’s honor.  This person could lead the parade
riding on the king’s own horse, wear the king’s own apparel, and the king could
tell everyone to bow down before him.
The king told him
the person he wished to honor was Mordecai and Haman was mortified! He realized
that he would have to honor the man he so greatly despised.  On the day of the parade, Haman gave
the king’s clothing to Mordecai and helped in the ceremony held to honor
Mordecai. He had to instruct everyone to bow before Mordecai. After the parade
was over, he went to his house in mourning, humiliated before the man he
In the end, Haman’s plot to
kill the Jews was exposed, and he was hanged on the very gallows he had built for
Mordecai. I am sure, when the king’s men hanged Haman; he realized Mordecai’s
insubordination had not been worth his anger. He probably wished he had simply
ignored Mordecai.
There are several
lessons we can learn from this story. We can conclude that God protects His
own, that a person’s sin will find him out, and that pride cometh before a
fall. However, most people miss the main lesson in this tragic story; Haman’s
fall was caused by his obsession with a little thing. He was upset by one
little thing, by one Jew who, when thousands of others bowed, stood alone and
refused to bow. 
Haman was oblivious to the fact that thousands of other people did
bow before him. He could only see the one man who refused to bow. The silence
of Mordecai was louder than the cheers of the masses.  Haman’s anger toward one person caused him to lose his
honor, and it finally caused his death.
We conquer
mountains, and then we stumble over anthills. We are not overcome by boulders,
but by tiny pebbles. Most of us become more upset over trivial things than we
do over important things. I have seen couples bury a child in the cemetery and
then quibble over a towel left on the floor. They receive great answers to prayer,
but they tremble at the need of daily bread.
The same is true of
churches and nations. I have seen churches that weather satanic storms and then
split over the color of the songbooks. They fight the state government, and
then they divide from within.
The nation of
Israel crossed the Red Sea, and then balked at the tiny Jordan River. The
United States of America, the greatest nation of our generation, rose up to
conquer Germany and Japan, and then it trembled over the smaller countries of
Cuba and Vietnam.
Elijah prayed down
fire from Heaven and severed the heads of the prophets of Baal, but then he ran
from one woman who had threatened him.
Most of us are like
the proverbial elephant that is not afraid of the beasts of the jungle, yet
flees the tiny mouse.  We must not
let a trivial thing destroy us when we have so many things going for us.  We must thank God for the good things
in our lives.
In churches
everywhere you will find people who have been destroyed by trivial
matters.  Someone quits the choir
because of a quibble with the choir director over a trivial matter.  Someone gets mad because the usher did
not seat him where he thought he should be seated.  A bus driver becomes angry because he did not get the bus he
wanted to drive, or a bus captain becomes angry because he was not given the
bus route he wanted.  A Sunday
school teacher becomes angry because she was not given the class she wanted to
teach.  People become angry over
things that are not worth “a hill of beans.”
Some college
student gets upset over a little rule in the handbook.  He, or she, will be distraught over a
scolding by the Dean of Men or the Dean of Women.  If they become so upset over a trivial matter, they will
never be successful in the ministry. 
College is just an examination to prove a person’s character for real
Be careful to
protect your spirit, for those trivial matters, those little irritants, are
everywhere. They are the everyday problems in your marriage. Sometimes, your
spouse will not put the cap on the tube of toothpaste or will not put the lid
back on the milk or the peanut butter. 
Clothes and towels will be left on the floor. The toast will be burnt.
The children will leave out the bicycles and tear up the grass in the front
yard. You will lose the joy of marriage and the joy of raising children over
trivial matters with little meaning, so stop building the gallows that will
hang you.
Trivial pursuits
will destroy you. Your nerves will be shattered, your life, and the lives of
those around you, will be destroyed. You will break friendships of a lifetime
over a minor statement or action. 
A lifetime of good is destroyed because someone’s feelings are hurt over
a trivial matter.
Who is the Mordecai
in your life?  What little thing
will not bow to you or work the way it is supposed to work? What trivial matter
has angered you? What trivial matter has caused your blood pressure to soar?
You are angry with God for something insignificant. You are mad at the church,
the bus captain, the choir director, or the youth director over some trivial
matter. You have fallen in love with your church, but then you walk away from
it over a minor problem or issue. It is such a trivial thing, such a little
thing, but it will cause your downfall.
For some reason, we
cannot associate God with taking care of trivial matters. Somehow, we have the
idea that God only carries the big burdens; He only answers the big problems.
We look to Him to work miracles, but we never ask Him to take care of the minor
things.  Because of that, we pray
down millions of dollars, but we cannot pay our rent.  We pray down great miracles, but we starve to death because
we do not ask Him for the trivial matter of our daily bread.
The same God Who
answered Elijah’s prayer and caused fire to fall on Mount Carmel is the same
God Who fed Elijah, and He is the same God Who will take care of us. He is
willing to take care of every problem, small and large, trivial and life-changing.
It is time to
realize that life is not perfect and some things are simply trivial matters.
For example, if a baseball player gets one hit out of three times at bat, he is
considered Hall of Fame material. If a basketball player makes eight out of ten
throws at the free-throw line, he can become All-American. Mickey Mantel did
not make a hit every time he came up to bat. Wilt Chamberlain did not make all
of his free-throws.
Of course, you want
ten things out of ten to be perfect, but it will not happen. Accept that fact
and thank God for those things that do go the way they should go! Do not
let trivial pursuits take over your life. 
Do not let a Mordecai ruin your life.
What is the problem
that will not bow?  Who is the
person who will not bow?  Put away
your hammer and nails, tear down the scaffolding and the gallows you are
building.  Start thanking God for
those things that do go the right way, and stop playing trivial pursuit!

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