Aristotle, bottom-line performance, Daniel 1:17-21, excel, higher calling, lowering standards and expectations, lowering the moral bar, Luke 2:52, moral compass, poor testimony, Proverbs 22:29, scholarly minds, stand before kings, strong bodies, submissive spirit, The Fellowship of the Unashamed, we are what we repeated do
During dark and difficult times some people like to lower standards and lower expectations. Daniel and his buddies didn’t follow that course. The question is why? Because they knew if their trials and tribulations were going to be more difficult, then they needed to be better prepared to meet them… head on! This is why in football the better offenses are on the same team with the better defenses. These offenses have to practice everyday against an elite opposition. The world in general has lowered their standards, especially concerning children. Instead of encouraging children to study harder, tests have been made easier. Instead of reaffirming moral standards, which have been the norm for centuries, the moral bar has simply been lowered. Instead of reaffirming the richness each religion has to offer, the common truths of faith have been stripped away and given no value.
Daniel’s faith and tradition were tossed aside like week old bread. Even though he was given a new name and new belief system, he didn’t neglect the God of his forefathers. So, just because the world has lost its moral compass doesn’t mean the believer has to lose his way. Our call is to always be on the increase, both spiritually and physically. The Lord doesn’t want His children to be the “tail” but the “head”. We can follow Jesus’ example as He grew in hostile territory.
And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
What is interesting is the worldly culture didn’t notice Daniel and his friends because of their faithfulness to God, but it was their submissive spirit, strong bodies, and scholarly minds which gained the world’s attention. Even back 5000 years ago people were only interested in the bottom-line performance. Nebuchadnezzar chose Daniel and his friends in spite of their religious scruples, not because of them. Little did the King know those same religious principles would save his kingdom.
17 As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.
19 The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service. 20 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king. Daniel 1:17,19-21
It is little wonder that many Christians have a poor testimony with their employers and co-workers. They think of their work as secular and non-spiritual. Unfortunately, they do not seek to excel or even try to do their jobs well. Like the world, they do as little as possible. The truth is there is a higher calling resting upon every believer. If they would simply seek to excel in order to glorify God, the world would take notice. Only then would the unbelieving world be more interested to hear what they have to share. Spiritual slobs lose their message and lose their way. Listen to what Proverbs has to say about work.
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men. (Proverbs 22:29)
Our calling is to stand before kings. Like cream we are to rise to the top. A few years ago, this poem was passed around the internet numerous times. It still speaks about our calling to be sold out for the Lord and to be different.
The Fellowship of the Unashamed
I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed. I have Holy Spirit Power. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure. I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, love by patience, lift by prayer and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.
I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
This is the big question… Who do you want to be recognized by when it is all said and done…. the Lord or the world?