If you’re like me, you appreciate quality workmanship of products that don’t break after only a few uses. I have a “Leatherman” multi-purpose tool strapped to my belt that I use nearly daily for a quick fix of something. I’ve broken the tips off the pliers now twice because I was in jam trying to crank on something I was fixing and the torque was just too much. Both times I returned it to the company telling them what I was attempting to do with their tool and they sent me a brand new one each time! Many times other tools I use are not as reliable. If I break something I’m using, I’ll mutter “I guess they don’t make em like they used to.”
I’ve noticed that’s not only true with tools, it seems they don’t make people like they used to either. There was a time, not all that long ago, people were people of character and integrity. They stood for what was right and opposed what was wrong. They were willing to stand for truth, regardless of opposition and whether or not it was popular did not matter. These were people of their word and their commitments were better than any contract you could sign. In my quiet time this morning, I was reading about four men like this. You know them as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. From the minute we’re introduced to these young men in the Scriptures, they stand out because they are willing to go against the grain – not because they were trying to be difficult, but because deep within them was a desire to honor and please the Lord first before they pleased anyone else. We see them honoring the Lord with their diet and the Lord blessed that, we see them honor the Lord in refusing to bow to an idol and it got them thrown into a fiery furnace that God delivered them from – without even the slightest smell of smoke on their persons. What’s amazing about the fiery furnace account is they clearly said God could deliver them, but whether or not He would deliver them did not matter. They were not going to bow down to worship this idol and were willing to stake their lives on it, because it was the right thing to do. Late in his life, Daniel was forced to choose whether to obey a foolish order the king signed, or honor the Lord. He chose to honor the Lord and not bow to the political winds or pressures of his day, even though he knew he’d be tossed into a den of lions. Whether he lived or died was not the issue, Daniel had the courage to do what was right. You know the story there too, God delivered Daniel from the lions’ den. (You can read about all this in Daniel 1-6). What I love about these men is they were just ordinary guys, they were captives in a foreign country who could have just gone with the flow. But they chose to honor the Lord in every decision even though it was going to cost them personally.
What I thought this morning was where are all the Daniel’s, the Shadrach’s, the Meshach’s, and the Abednego’s in our world today? People of character are rare but they do exist. I was speaking to a friend of mine last week who had to make a tough choice and honor a commitment he made in business. He had to replace a faulty product and it cost him thousands and thousands of dollars. Now the Lord is honoring that decision because my friend “dared to be a Daniel.” He put the Lord first instead of making his decision on the financial impact. One of my own daughters was in an accident a week ago and the guy who stopped to help her was trying to get her to lie to the officers about what actually happened. Ginny actually told them the truth, admitted her fault and I believe the Lord is honoring her commitment. Old dad is proud of his daughter who did what was right.
These modern day Daniel’s encourage me. Choosing to honor the Lord first, standing for what is right, even if it costs them. Imagine if every Christian made a choice to be like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego every single day, at work, at school, at home, in our personal and social activities? How quickly could we evangelize this world for Jesus if we all had the fortitude of these men to put the Lord first no matter the cost? If we did that, people would be flocking to find out what makes us different. I’m going to choose to be a Daniel today, tomorrow and with God’s help, all of my days. God still makes em like He used to when we choose to put Him first. Something to consider, from my little corner of the world to yours…
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church