Today’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 19:1 through Jeremiah 20:18; Daniel 1:1-21
Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. –Daniel 1:20
Is it important for you to do your best?
Here’s what Paul Pearsall, best-selling author says in his book “The Last Self-Help Book You’ll Ever Need” (Basic Books, 2005).
“Stop trying to live up to your full potential. You probably don’t have much more potential than you’re showing right now, and striving for more will only cause disappointment.”
This attitude has taken today’s culture by storm. I’m not endorsing the “Win at all costs” mentality; I’m talking about the “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23 NIV) way of thinking.
Last year I went to my granddaughter’s field day. I went there expecting to see little kids competing for the first place ribbon—not in today’s world; ‘it’ll make the kids who don’t get first place feel bad, so everyone gets the same ribbon’. Boo—hiss!!! We’re creating a culture of mediocrity…
There is a silver lining to this sad state…
It’s getting easier to be successful—strive to be a person who pursues personal excellence and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
Friends, going through life with a goal of just getting by is not biblical! In today’s reading we met four guys who didn’t hold to Dr. Pearsall’s way of thinking–Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego.
Here are the first things we learn about these guys:
- From Judah’s royal family
- Well-versed in every branch of learning
- Gifted with knowledge and good judgment
- Suited to serve
Yes, you’re right, few of us are born with all these attributes. I know, it seems it would be easy to live a life of excellence with all this going for you, but just think about a few of our most “rich, famous, and beautiful.” Would you describe them as living a life of excellence?
So what set Daniel and his three amigos apart from the rest?
- But Daniel was determined not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8)
- The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens (Daniel 1:5) but Daniel and his friends asked for a diet of vegetables and water (Daniel 1:12)
In today’s world people who are disciplined are seen as boring and rigid.
We want to have what the determined and discipline people have, but we don’t want to do what the determined and discipline people do.
God used Daniel’s life of excellence to win over the greatest ruler of the greatest nation at that time in history. Don’t buy into the lie that living a life of determination and discipline is legalistic and old-school. It’s the most exciting and fulfilling way to live, and you just might change the world!
No, we’re not perfect, but with Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we’re 10 times more capable to win the race!
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. –Philippians 3:12-14
Dare to be a Daniel!
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Daniel 2:1 through Daniel 3:30; Jeremiah 7:1 through Jeremiah 8:3