“All This Avails Me Nothing”

You simply cannot satisfy some people. Trust me. I’m a preacher. No matter what you do to accommodate them, help them, be there for them, and encourage them, they will find some reason for dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction quickly leads to complaining, and complaining ultimately reaches that fever pitch where you might prefer fingernails on a chalkboard to hearing anything more about how unfair life is for that person. They treat minor inconveniences like major obstacles. Their negativity toward others typically includes assuming the worst of others’ motives, bordering on paranoia. They cannot consider other, far less malicious possibilities because they can only see how they have been slighted.

When Esther approached King Xerxes to inform him of the danger Haman had created for her people, she began by hosting a banquet for the king and Haman (Est. 5:1-5). However, rather than informing the king at this first banquet, she asked both men to return the following day (Est. 5:6-8). It must have taken tremendous self-control for Esther to host such a banquet with a man such as Haman present, knowing what she knew, but she must have proven a marvelous hostess, because Haman left the banquet as happy as he could be—at least until he saw Mordecai in the king’s gate refusing to cower before him (Est. 5:9). When Haman returned home, he recounted for his friends and his wife the wealth he had gained, his many children, and his promotion in the king’s service (Est. 5:10-11). “Moreover Haman said, ‘Besides, Queen Esther invited no one but me to come in with the king to the banquet that she prepared; and tomorrow I am again invited by her, along with the king. Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king’s gate’” (Est. 5:12-13). Haman had many more advantages and greater worldly success than most of us will ever know, but he was miserable. He was miserable because he could not force Mordecai to do what he wanted him to do. Indeed, this illustrated a major flaw in Haman’s character. He could only be happy when he got everything he wanted. Knowing this, his wife and friends urged him to have Mordecai killed so that he could be happy (Est. 5:14). Did you catch that? Haman had reached the point where the thought of someone’s murder made him content.

Haman’s attitude begot his own misery. Despite all that he had, despite all the material blessings he enjoyed, he chose to concentrate on the one thing that he did NOT have that he wanted. When we focus on the negative things in life, we will see our own lives in a negative way, we will see others in a negative way, and we will even see our Christianity in a negative way. If everyone has to walk on eggshells around you and people have to go to great lengths to keep you satisfied, chances are that they are not the problem. Unfortunately, if you focus only on what others must do to make you happy, you will never realize that the problem lies within yourself. It must be a sad existence indeed. It is an existence without love (1 Cor. 13:7), an existence without contentment (Phil. 4:11), and an existence without real friends (Prov. 18:24). As long as you make your life completely about yourself, you will be unhappy. However, if you will make your life about Jesus Christ, you will find joy in abundance (Phil. 4:4). It is your choice.

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