Christmas has been packed up, the tree recycled, and the decorations put away. There was one thing that this Christmas showed me from my boys. We have to be taught how to respond to all situations. My oldest son, Austin, after the final present was opened, said “More presents. I want to open more presents.” Now he is three and so we had to teach him how to respond in gratitude for his presents and not entitlement. A lesson that I hope transcends Christmas and affects his every day life. We all need to learn how to respond with trust in God for presents and trust in God for his presence.
Daniel in the face of a death sentence responded with prudence, discretion, and prayer. He didn’t lose control due to the unfairness of the situation. He had already been ripped from his home, never to see his family again. He already had been castrated to prevent him from wanting any success for his heirs. He had been given a new name to strip him of the memory of his God. Just when things are looking up and Daniel had graduated with a BA in Chaldean history and dream interpretation, he gets a knock at the door. Arioch shows up with a weapon and a word.
“I am going to kill you. Nothing personal, just doing my job. The king ordered it.”
Instead of panic, Daniel who is a teenager at the youngest and early 20s at the oldest responds not in fear, but with prudence and discretion and somehow convinces this seasoned veteran warrior that he should not obey the king and kill him, but rather give him more time—the very thing that the king denied the other wisemen of Babylon. And Arioch instead of laughing and lopping off his head, takes him to the king who gives him more time. The next thing that Daniel doesn’t do is bolt. He doesn’t leave. He doesn’t make a run for it. He goes back to his buddies who trust in God and asks them to pray. And they do. God then gives the interpretation to Daniel. God does a miracle. He gives Daniel the dreams of another man.
Daniel’s response: He writes a song praising God. He stops what he is doing. He doesn’t go right to the king who has him on a deadline. He takes a break in a really busy day to worship. He blessed the God of heaven. I don’t know how long it took to compose that song, but what I do know is that the order of the priority of business that day was 1. Worship God 2. Save the wisemen 3. Let the king know the dream.
Now I know all of us have busy days. I know that we start the day with a text or email that some overachiever knocked out at 330am. I know that there is this tendency and competition that drives us that we must respond first and beat the day so the day does beat us. But before you do, spend time worshipping the God of the universe. Perhaps sing Daniel’s song. If you are a believer in Christ, then you experienced the same miracle that Daniel received. You have been saved from your sin. He has set you apart as his child. Therefore, there is nothing more important that giving gratitude to the one who saved your life. Let us not live entitled lives of a child, but grow in maturity in Jesus.
Is there anything you have a feeling entitlement about as opposed to gratitude?