ByLinda Porter Carlyle
MacKenzie Isabelle Evans handed Mom her Primary Treasure and then plopped down beside her on the couch.
“This is one of my very favorite Bible stories,” Mom said, opening to the lesson page. “Queen Esther.”
“I know!” Mac exclaimed. “I love this story too! Wait a minute!” She jumped off the couch and dashed upstairs.
Mom sat and waited. A quiet summer breeze gently moved the lace curtains at the open windows. She could hear the Jacksonville Birds’ Choir practicing in the trees outside. Finally, she heard Mac coming back down the stairs.
Mac slowly entered the living room again. She was a sight to behold. Her long purple dress-up dress rustled as she walked slowly across the carpet. A veil of filmy pink chiffon fabric covered her face and was held in place by a gold cardboard crown. Rows of beads from the dress-up box circled her neck, and the sparkly silver slippers on her feet completed her outfit. “I’m Queen Esther!” Mac announced, twirling in front of Mom. “Do you think I’m beautiful?”
“Of course, I think you’re beautiful!” Mom answered with a smile on her face. “I think you are the most beautiful child ever!”
Mac grinned behind her veil. “But I’m not as beautiful as Queen Esther, though,” she said. “Queen Esther was the most beautiful woman in the whole land! She won the king’s beauty contest!”
Mom patted the couch. “Come, sit down,” she said. “Let’s read the story.”
Mac carefully sat back down on the couch, arranging her long skirt elegantly. Then she stuck her legs out straight to admire her silver slippers. “And Queen Esther probably had the most beautiful clothes too,” she said. “I wonder if she had a new dress every day. And new shoes! If I were a queen, I’d have new shoes every day!”
Mama laughed. “I don’t think either beauty or fashion is the point of this week’s lesson,” she said.
“I know,” Mac agreed, “but they’re fun to think about!”
“Well, listen to the story, and then we’ll talk about what we can learn from it,” Mom said. She began to read.
Mac closed her eyes and leaned against the back of the couch. She liked to picture the story in her mind while she listened. She imagined the big bustling city of Susa and the wonderful palace, full of guards and servants, where Esther lived as Queen. She tried to imagine what King Xerxes must have looked like. He was probably tall and handsome, she decided. And probably a little fierce and scary too. And Haman. She wondered if people could tell that Haman was such a wicked man just by looking at him.
Suddenly Mac became aware that Mom had finished reading. She opened her eyes.
“You weren’t asleep, were you?” Mom teased.
Mac pretended to be offended. “Of course, not! I was imagining!”
“Listen to the memory verse,” Mom said. “‘Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart,’” she read. “What do you think that has to do with the story?”
Mac frowned in thought. Then she bounced and sat up straight. “I know! I know!” she exclaimed. “Esther was beautiful, and that was what people could see when they looked at her. But God could see her heart! And that was the real reason why He made her queen! He knew that Esther would listen to her Uncle Mordecai, and He knew she would be brave enough to go and see the king!”
“I think you’ve got it!” Mom said. “And you know what I was just thinking about?” she went on. “Esther was an orphan, but she honored her Uncle Mordecai just like a father. And she went to see the king because she thought it was her duty. I don’t think she would have done that if she hadn’t been in the habit of always listening to Mordecai and taking his advice. And been in the habit of doing her duties faithfully.”
Mac was quiet.
The birds outside still sang.
Then Mac looked at Mom. “I know what you mean!” she said. “You mean if I really want to be like Queen Esther, I should honor you and Dad, and listen to you, and take your advice, and that I should always do my duties! I think you want me to remember to wash the dishes without being reminded! And make my bed without being reminded! Right?”
Mom’s eyes twinkled. “I am a blessed woman!” she exclaimed. “My daughter is not only beautiful—she’s brilliant!”
Mac stood up. She took the crown and veil off her head and shook out her red curls. “I’ll never be a queen like Queen Esther, though,” she said a little sadly.
“Maybe not,” Mom answered. “But maybe you can have a heart like hers.”