Summary: The second in the series based on the six pillars of ‘Character Counts!’
Who can tell me what we did last week during my talk about trustworthiness? (Looking for: trust walk) (Slide 1)
What people in the Bible did I use to help us understand why trustworthiness is important? (Looking for: the Wise Men) (Slide 2)
What two qualities of trustworthiness did I say the Wise Men demonstrated? (Looking for: be reliable – do what you say you will do; have the courage to do the right thing.) (Slide 2a)
Our pillar for this morning is respect. (Slide 3)
What does respect look like? How do you know when someone shows you respect?
One of the things about respect is that it requires us to be able to look at others in a way that sees them as people who God loves just as much as us. To see people this way is very hard at times especially when we are angry or afraid. Now I am going to show you a picture in a moment that is going to illustrate the importance (and the challenge) at seeing people in a respectful way. Now, you may want to get up and sit over here to get a better look before I show it.
(Slide 4) Here it is… what do you see? (It was a slide of the old lady/young lady picture in which two different women can be seen.)
There is a picture of an older lady and a younger lady in this picture. Do you see either one of them? Do you see both of them?
(Encourage them until all have found it.)
(Slide 5) Respect is like looking at this picture and seeing both persons. For many people, it is easy to see only one person and difficult to see the other one. In the same way, respect requires us to be able to “see” people beyond our initial impression.
Respect, I believe, requires us to give it as well as expect it. It is, as the adults sometimes say, “a two way street.”
Our Bible story this morning is about respect.
It is the story of Daniel and his three friends, whom we know as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Now before I read part of Daniel and his friends’ story, I want us to understand something important about them. They were taken from their home country and moved to another country whose language and customs were very different. It would be like moving to Mexico or Japan and having to learn to live in one of those countries.
But, God was with them and they made a choice, as we shall see, to keep honoring God while showing respect to those who had taken them. Do you think that you could do that?
The book of Daniel is in the Old Testament of the Bible and it is the story of Daniel and his three friends. Our story for this morning comes out of chapter 1 and begins with verse 8:
But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead. 9 Now God had given the chief official great respect for Daniel. 10 But he was alarmed by Daniel’s suggestion. “My lord the king has ordered that you eat this food and wine,” he said. “If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded for neglecting my duties.”
11Daniel talked it over with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief official to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s rich food. Then you can decide whether or not to let us continue eating our diet.” 14So the attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the rich foods and wines. 17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for learning the literature and science of the time. And God gave Daniel special ability in understanding the meanings of visions and dreams.
18When the three-year training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief official brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with each of them, and none of them impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they were appointed to his regular staff of advisers. 20 In all matters requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, the king found the advice of these young men to be ten times better than that of all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.