Read: Daniel 3
Key Verse: "But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” . [ Daniel 3: 18]
Music lovers all over the world is mourning the tragic death of Whitney Houston. A singer who dabbled with drugs and was constantly in and out of rehab, she leaves behind a legacy where success without any values has a price to pay. In fact according to John J Thomson who in “Think Christian” states that "She had a history and a relationship with gospel music and faith that informed her work and endeared her to her fans, yet she mostly steered clear of specifically Christian ideas. She deftly referenced these in the service of deeply intimate inter-personal love songs". One of her close friends was Cece Winans who on the contrary was a singer with Christian values. They both recorded one of the most memorable songs about friendship, "Count on Me". But that is where the difference starts. Whitney achieved fame which came with a price, but Cece Winans also achieves fame but with a different standards. Working and using her talents and music for the Lord. Her latest vision is the launching of her brand new record label, Wellspring Gospel. She says she needed to do something to the music industry. "We just need more God-fearing companies to put out music". In one of her interviews, when asked to share her mission statement , she smiled and told, "To serve I'd like to be known as just a server of Christ, which is a server of people." Two friends, One paying a price for living for the world, another paying a price to live for the Lord. One who is transformed by the world, the other who tries to bring transformation to the world and in the place that one is placed by God.
On Tuesday’s we meditate on how we can bring transformation in our workplace or school. The character that we are using for our meditation is the life and ministry of Daniel. Daniel. Daniel has found favour with King Nebuchadnezzar after he has interpreted his dreams and he has been appointed in high positions. But he still has to pay a price to stand for his faith. The new test is the test of loyalty, a test of faithfulness and test of commitment and love. The King set a replica of his image made of gold and orders that everyone at the appointed time has to bow down to the image. All those people who fail to do this are threatened to be thrown into a fiery furnace. Daniel and his friends are tested again. But they stand steadfast in their faith. They loudly proclaim their faith “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” [ Daniel 3: 17,18]. One can understand the anger and the fury that the King would have gone through when Daniel and his friends so boldly proclaim where their commitment lies. For fame, for popularity and for positions and privileges there are people today in the world who will forsake even their parents, but here are four friends who proclaim to the king and to the people assembled that even if they loose their life and their world, they will not forsake their love for the Lord. This is witnessing, witnessing so that they could be channels of transformation where they are placed. Can we be like Daniel and his friends where we can proclaim to others that our first love and our commitment is to our Lord and then comes everything else, the world, the fame, the prosperity.
If we stand for the Lord we wont fall for anything, but don't stand for the Lord we will fall for everything.
Just a concluding thought: The final public performance of Whitney Houston was when she sang the hymn “Jesus Loves Me” which is fascinating, indeed. According to John J Thomson “Even so, after her many years of very public bouts with substance abuse, addiction and toxic relationships, it is certainly cause for comfort that her final hours included those simple, but powerful lines: “Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so”.
Let us Pray: Dear Lord thank you for teaching us that our first love and our commitment is to you. Help us to stand firm in that commitment even if it cost us our fame, riches and positions. Help us not to compromise our Christian values. Amen.