Positions of Influence

Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him.  He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all the wise men.  Moreover, at Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel him remained at the royal court.  Daniel 2:48, 49.

In the views expressed by believers today, who among them would, without compromise or censure, rule over the nation of Babylon under a heathen king?

Daniel and his three buddies refused to eat meat or drink wine at the king’s table (no they weren’t vegetarians or teetotallers) for the very simple reason that these items of food were first offered to the god of Babylon.  So to eat this food would have gone against the boundaries set out by their God through Moses.  For their faithfulness, they were rewarded great honor and positions of influence.  Nowhere in the book of Daniel or in history does it claim Daniel completely changed this nation into a God fearing place, nor does it claim he even attempted to do such a thing.  Since he didn’t, what kind of laws would he have had to sign off on to enforce his king’s will?

I think we can learn a great lesson for our own times from his example.  Here is a man equivalent of a prime minister who refuses to legislate his own morality or impose his own ethics on others, yet remained faithful and true to them himself–to the point of death.  It is important to note that he and his three friends nearly died for such devotion to their God without compromise or folding under pressure.  Yet never did they push their own agenda on the nation they ruled, although I bet they were far more merciful than their king.

 Over and over in Scripture we see the same example of faithfulness to God without compromise in the most unlikely places.  The people who influenced the heathen cultures they ruled over or lived in did so by a lifestyle devoted to God not with armies, guerrilla warfare or political maneuvering.  This should teach us a great lesson about how we are to influence the world about us.  We who believe must learn to let our light shine through our examples more than our words, for words trap us into things that may not be godly or right, but actions show the truth of what we believe in stark contrast to the world about us.

I am not subtracting the need to teach, preach and exhort by the Word of God, rather I believe we need to let go of human methods to accomplish eternal tasks.  In our spheres of influence we must be that lamp on a stand, a torch in a sconce or city on a hill, Jesus spoke so passionately about to His disciples.  Each one has a task, each one gives off a different amount of light to guide those who need to see, but none of them force those in darkness to become light themselves, they simply shine.  Do we shine our light in defiance of the darkness around us?  Not at all.  We shine because it is dark and the only safe means of travel in such conditions is to have light.

Notice the light might be small or large but its actions remain the same.  Jesus didn’t tell us to go light the forest on fire, burn down the temples of the heathen gods or force others to become lights, instead He told us to simply be light to the world.  A light accomplishes very little other than to show the objects in the room or on the road within its power to reveal.  None of us is required to be a city, but to be part of a family of light, which is the city of God.  In Jesus’ day, city states were so common as to be thought of as nations unto themselves.  We are of the nation of heaven, our race, creed and ethics grow out of our homeland.

If we are here to change the world, we do so one little lamp at a time.  In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to make disciples.  The word “disciple” is the root word of discipline, therefore we teach, preach, exhort and demonstrate the discipline of Christ for those who would hear and believe.  We were never asked to conquer the world or take over countries but simply to live according to the Word of Truth, which is Jesus Christ.

The cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but life to those who would believe.  Daniel’s influence brought magi to Jesus’ (we believe they were from Chaldea) to worship five hundred years after he lived.  Now that’s influence!

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One Response to “Positions of Influence”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    Our influence is in the little things we do and say. Daniel found favor by being faithful even when the rest were conforming. He was not on a street corner screaming that people were going to hell. Instead his humility and his righteousness gave him the ear of the king. That should be our key.

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