This article is part of our Parenting Through the Bible Series. Click here to learn more!
Esther is a wonderful book of the Bible that reads like a modern day television drama. It is filled with intrigue, murder, deception and power. One of the subplots has to do with recognition – or lack thereof. This is a relevant theme for our kids today as most young people are living their lives with an invisible audience – constantly seeking feedback, approval and recognition for what they have done, no matter how big or small. How can we, as parents, combat this external focus and help our children develop an identity that goes deeper than what others may think of them? How can we teach them to do good for the right reasons?
The lesson below will explore some of the themes of Esther and help you and your family dig deeper into this issue of recognition. You can use the lesson below as a family Bible study or devotional time.
As a family, read the book of Esther then explore the questions below. At the end of this article, there are some links to resources to use along with this study if you have younger children.
- How were Esther and Mordecai related? (They were cousins.)
- What did Mordecai tell Esther when she was taken into the king’s harem? (Don’t tell anyone you are a Jew.)
- What good deed did Mordecai do? (Told the king of a plot to kill him.)
- Who was Haman? (A noble, honored by the king. A wicked man.)
- Why did Haman get so mad at Mordecai? (He wouldn’t bow down to him.)
- What did Haman decide to do to the Jews? (Have them all killed on one appointed day.)
- What did Esther do about it? (She had some parties for the king and then revealed her nationality and the plight of her people.)
- What eventually happened to Haman? (He was hanged in the gallows built for Mordecai.)
- Why do you think Mordecai checked up on Esther every day? (see chapter 2 verse 11)
- Why wouldn’t Mordecai bow down to Haman?
- Why do you think Mordecai didn’t get any recognition?
- How do you think Mordecai felt about his good deed not being noticed by the king?
- How do you think he felt when Haman, a wicked man, was honored instead?
- Has there ever been a time when you have done something good and no one noticed?
- How did you feel?
- What did Mordecai do instead of feeling sorry for himself? (He continued to do the job he had been appointed, he kept God at the center of his life, he looked out for his people, etc.)
- Mordecai was eventually rewarded. Do you think we will always be rewarded on earth? Why or why not?
- What are some reasons that people do good things?
- What does God say about why we should do good deeds? Read the passage below.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4
- Do you have any ideas on how you can feel good about doing good things even when no one else notices?
Encourage each family member to try to do one or two un-noticed good deeds every day for the next week. Make it a goal to not get caught. At the end of the week, meet together and talk about the experience. Discuss what made it hard or easy and how they felt knowing that God was the only one who saw.
[photo credit: fodd from morguefile.com]