Friday, March 03, 2006

Xerxes Throws a Party - Jesus Outdoes Him

I love the book of Esther as God leads, guides and protects His people in captivity. As I was reading Esther 1, I was struck by the wealth of King Xerxes - ruling 127 provinces from India to the upper Nile region, throwing an open house (palace) for 180 days so people could be amazed at the lavish lifestyle, and then throwing a 7 day party, serving wine to each as they wished at no cost to them.

But then I thought - where is the wealth now? Really! Can anyone find it? What about the vast and great kingdom? Where is Xerxes now? Did he come to Esther's God? Life is fleeting, riches come and go, wine goblets empty, and kingdoms fade.

A good reminder as we can become consumed with riches, the here and now. Jesus says: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.

Look around you at your car, your house, your job, your wrinkle free face and muscle-toned body - they will all disappear. Does the time and energy into physical health and wealth surpass your investment of spiritual health and wealth? If so, your treasure is on earth and you will reap your reward. But how great are the words of Jesus and the warning of Xerxes: there is a better life with greater rewards and blessings all through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Come and enjoy him who is the great giver of life.

One final thought: as I read Esther 1, I was impressed with Xerxes riches. I certainly would have attended the party and looked around. But then we think of the riches of Jesus and the banquet to which he invites us. Jesus, His Kingdom reaching from east to west, the earth His footstool, invites us into His presence and experience His blessings. Jesus again says: In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.

So here are the two questions that remain: whose kingdom is greater and whose party would you rather attend? In the words of Joshua, As for me and my household, I will serve the Lord.

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