>Now there was in the citadel of Susa a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, named Mordecai son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, who had been carried into exile from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah. Mordecai had a cousin named Hadassah, whom he had brought up because she had neither father nor mother. This young woman, who was also known as Esther, had a lovely figure and was beautiful. Mordecai had taken her as his own daughter when her father and mother died. Esther 2:5-7

In a perfect world, a person would bend over backwards to help another person, whether it was taking in an orphan, befriending an outcast, or adopting a stray, and in return their lives would be blessed and problem-free. But, here’s the deal, whether you’re raising kids or cats, they will make noise, throw up on your carpet, go #2 on your sofa, make a mess, cost a lot of money, and cause heartache anyway…oh, and so will the cats.

Noble causes don’t always reap positive rewards. Hadassah, aka Esther, had nowhere to go, so her cousin Mordecai took her in. He raised Esther as his own daughter. He gave her everything that she needed to have a good life. I would imagine that Mordecai had hopes and dreams for Esther: marry a nice Jewish boy, settle down, and start a family, and maybe even return to the Promised Land one day.

Those dreams ended the day that the king began to enlarge his harem and “interview” candidates for queen. This wasn’t what Mordecai had hoped for his adopted daughter. A dictator’s edict ended all that Mordecai had dreamed for Esther. All of his efforts appeared to be for naught.

All of us have taken on causes that never really played out the way that we thought. Sometimes when you befriend the friendless person at work, instead of receiving gratitude, you’re stabbed in the back. Then, you understand why that person was friendless.

Life is not fair. Most of the undertakings in life, especially the heroic ones, do not always have happy endings or don’t become made for TV movies on the Hallmark Channel (No offense to Hallmark. They paid for half of my college).

So, here’s the big question that you are going to hate me for asking: Do we do things to make ourselves feel good or do we do things out of obedience to God? If we do things merely to feel good, then when things don’t work out, we wonder why we got into it in the first place. If we do things out of obedience and fall on rough times, often we also question why we got involved, but we trust that God has a plan. Regardless of how we feel, what others think, what others are doing, or even what we think, obedience to God’s plan is far more valuable than any reward or acclaim that we might otherwise receive.

Where are you becoming weary in well-doing? What are you about to quit or escape from? What does God say? Even if you got in it for the wrong reasons, you’re in it. How do you need to obey God today?

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