Week 51 Tuesday

A Bitter Meal

Today’s scripture selection: Esther 1-5

Key verses: Esther 3:1-6

“When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged.  Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai.  Instead Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”

The Old Testament Book of Esther is the tale of a beautiful young and courageous woman; a Queen, who intercedes for her people.  It’s also the story of a very bitter and arrogant man who plots to destroy those people – and ends up destroying himself.

And that’s where it’s more than just a good story, with lots of drama.  It’s a lesson for us all.

Bitterness takes a terrible toll on people.

It causes a great deal of heartache on the victims upon which a bitter attack is waged.

But it also eats away, like a cancer, in the life of the one who holds the bitterness in his or her heart.

That was Haman’s problem – the man who wanted to destroy Mordecai’s people – the Jews.

You can read the story for yourself to see how this bitterness played out in their lives.  But what is worth pondering is where, if any, there is any bitterness starting to worm its way into your life.  If there is – take it to God – as soon as possible.  Ask God to show it to you; help you to better understand it; but most of all, assist you in wiping it out of your life once and for all.  If you don’t, one day it will not only consume the happiness in other’s lives – it will rise up and eat you alive – just for dessert.

Prayer: Lord, keep me free from bitterness, whatever its source.  AMEN.



By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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