Do you ever feel vulnerable at work? Vulnerability can result from isolation, when some of your normal sources of support seem to dry up. For some people the mere act of going to work feels like entering a hostile environment, where values of faith, belief or ethics are at variance with their own. Further, the fact of living in a minority creates its own tensions and struggles. Change, too, plays its part. Whatever the reason, circumstances can conspire to leave you some distance from your comfort zone.
For Mordecai the Jew, his position had become progressively more vulnerable. Exiled from his homeland to Persia, he was part of a minority group in an unfamiliar country. Not only was he part of a minority group, but this group was not treated well. Many of his support structures were missing – destroyed by change, isolation and prejudice.
Yet this individual managed to become Prime Minister of Persia. Without the aid of a self-help book or motivational interactive computer programme, he not only survived but flourished.
There are always many reasons for such stories and it is foolish to propose simplistic formulae which will apply to all. But two features of this man’s behaviour stand out:
Firstly, he never stopped nurturing Esther. By taking her in when her parents died, he cared for, coached and advised his young cousin. His concern for her never wavered and his faithfulness to her never dried up. He continued to give her guidance, wisdom, challenge and support, however hard his own circumstances were.
Secondly, he would not bow down to false idols – human or otherwise. Here was a man who could not be bought, sold or manipulated. Even as an exile, he would not take on the inappropriate values around him. Today he would refuse to lie, cheat or steal, or co-operate with corporate corruption. He would not bully, nor be bullied, nor fly off into a rage at not getting his own way. He would not worship status, money or power, or let his selfish ambition rule his soul. These were the things to which he would not bow.
In the face of your vulnerability, it may be that there are those in whom you should still invest. It may be an individual or several people, but they need your wisdom, coaching and guidance. Your vulnerability must not stop you enabling these people to grow. Secondly, however great the pressure and however fragile you may feel, it is always right to refuse to compromise and bow down to the spirit of the age.
These were some of the secrets of Mordecai the Jew as they can be secrets for you, and as they were for the Man of Nazareth.
Esther 2-3 various verses
7 Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This girl, who was also known as Esther, was lovely in form and features, and Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. 10Esther had not revealed her nationality and family background, because Mordecai had forbidden her to do so. 11Every day he walked back and forth near the courtyard of the harem to find out how Esther was and what was happening to her
19When the virgins were assembled a second time, Mordecai was sitting at the king’s gate. 20But Esther had kept secret her family background and nationality just as Mordecai had told her to do, for she continued to follow Mordecai’s instructions as she had done when he was bringing her up.
1After these events, King Xerxes honoured Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, elevating him and giving him a seat of honour higher than that of all the other nobles. 2All the royal officials at the king’s gate knelt down and paid honour to Haman, for the king had commanded this concerning him. But Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honour.
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