Summary: Change comes to us all. Daniel handles change with 1) character, 2) commitment, and 3) faith.
HANDLING CHANGE—Daniel 6
Look around at some of our senior citizens (Aren’t they great?), and imagine the changes they have seen in their lifetime: from life in the iconic 1950’s, through the turbulent 60’s, the 70’s and the Vietnam war, leisure suits in the 80’s, and ________ (you fill in the blanks).
***I remember one telephone in the house—with a dial and handset—and my sister taking it into the closet to talk to her friends. I remember our first television set, with 2 channels. I remember my first computer, my first internet access, my first smartphone…We can’t imagine how new technology might change our lives in the future.**
Change is relentless, and the pace of change is increasing.
The first American newspaper was published in Boston, in 1690. It was called, “Publik Occurrences, Both Forreign and Domestick.” It was only 4 pages, and the editors said it would be published monthly, “or if any Glut of Occurrences happen, oftener.” These days…Many of you checked the news on the way to church this morning…Some of you might have had a newsflash hit your phone since you got here.
Global change affects us all: war, pandemic, economic recession, political and social upheaval.
We also deal with change in our personal lives: illness, tragedy, family struggles…aging and new stages of life…church and community…
WHAT WILL WE NEED TO HANDLE THE CHANGES IN OUR LIVES?
***There is a fun children’s game, called “I’m going on a trip…” (It is a good game for a road trip.) The first person says, “I’m going on a trip, and I’m taking along __________.” The next person repeats that line, and adds another item. Each person repeats what was said before, adding an item, until someone makes a mistake in listing all the items to be taken.
If life is a like a trip or a journey, and you don’t know what will come, what will you take with you on your trip?**
What will we need to handle the changes that life brings?
In the last few weeks, we have been following Daniel in his journey through life. He has seen many changes in almost 80 years. He grew up in a royal family in Jerusalem, until the Babylonians took all the royals into exile. He was trained as a lowly intern in Babylon, studying Babylonian language, culture and religion. Then one day, he was called upon to interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and he was suddenly elevated to a high position in the court. He saw a king go insane, his friends thrown into a fiery furnace, and his status slowly fade, until the day Belshazzar called upon him to read the writing on the wall. Literally overnight, he was given the third highest rank in the kingdom, only to see the city overrun by the Medes and Persians.
When changes came, Daniel always landed on his feet. What did Daniel have as he handled change? Daniel had CHARACTER, COMMITMENT, and FAITH.
-CHARACTER. Read Daniel 6:1-5.
Character goes with you, throughout your life.
You go off to college or the military, and you face defining choices in your life: Who are you? What group are you with? What are your moral values? Where do you take a stand?
Then in the workplace, in marriage, in the lifestyle you choose: What is important to you? What are the non-negotiables? How do you love and care?
Then retirement comes: Your character continues to define you, though your life seems so different. Who are you? What group are you with? What are your values, not only in personal life, but in care for other people and the world around you? How do you love those close to you, even if they are physically distant?
If you live long enough, some of your faculties may fade. Some say, however, that old people become what they always were, only more so. If they were upbeat and sensitive, they are more so. If they were self-centered and critical, they are more so.
Character is built throughout life, brick by brick. Daniel demonstrated how that works:
When he was offered food and wine offered to idols, he took a stand for who he was: a Jew, who would eat kosher, thank you very much.
When God revealed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel in the night, he refused to take credit for his wisdom, praising God. When the interpretation of a second dream was revealed to him, he courageously spoke the truth to Nebuchadnezzar, risking his life to speak truth to power.
When Belshazzar tried to buy his services by offering a gold chain and high position, Daniel politely told the king he could keep his gifts for himself.
Now, when he is the administrator of a third of the Persian empire, he is like he always was, only more so: no one can find even a hint of corruption or negligence.