Queen Esther answered, "If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, and if it please the king, give me my life, and give my people their lives. Esther 7:3 (MSG)
Over the years, I've stood at many bedsides with people who were fighting for their very lives. I have had the incredible experience of hearing people whisper their last words and have listened as they breathe their final breath on this earth. When the doctors proclaim that a person's condition is terminal, it has a generally sobering effect. People have an entirely different perspective as they stare down the home stretch at the finish line of life's race.
The King offered Esther anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. The king, arrogantly secure in his health and position, could not imagine any greater gift he could offer other than money, land, wealth, and the power that came with it. What a different perspective Esther had as she pondered the death sentence and genocide she, and her people, faced.
I can learn from both Esther and King Xerxes. With Esther, I am reminded to consider my own temporal and transient state in this life. As God promises "ask anything, and it will be done," I must do a heart-check to consider the motives behind my requests and desires. With King Xerxes, I'm reminded to consider the things that are in my power to give. I am certainly blessed and try to honor God by blessing others with material and financial gifts. I musn't forget, however, that intangible, life-giving gifts of love, gratitude, encouragement, kindness, gentleness, grace, time, and friendship are worth far more in the Kingdom economy, and they yield much greater returns on investment.