The reality of life is that our actions do not take place in a vacuum. My actions affect those of everyone else around me in the same way that the actions of others affect me. We like to talk about our personal relationship with the Lord and while this is very true and necessary is not the complete picture. The other side of that coin is that we have a responsibility to everyone around us for our actions or lack thereof.
Lately I have been learning a lot about the business side of running a ministry. It’s funny that in learning about business I’ve wound up learning quite a bit about myself also. I’ve learned that I like to read, scrutinize, and examine something from every angle before I will take any sort of action on it. This can in fact be one of the worst forms of procrastination. In doing this I can essentially paralyze myself and prevent any action from ever taking place.
This means that no one gets to benefit from anything that I’ve learned until I feel that I have everything perfect (which may never happen).
This defeats the entire purpose of having a ministry. It is also this lack of action that will permanently hold me back from truly making a difference.
We are all familiar with the story of Daniel. He took responsibility for what was going on with his people . And although he did not have all the answers he stepped out and took action. He was not responsible for the sins that caused the Israelites to go into exile. He was a young boy when that happened.
Daniel took ownership of the situation and changed the course of an entire nation.
We can make up all sorts of spiritual sounding excuses for doing nothing I’m sure you’ve heard them all before:
“I’m just waiting for God to open the door.”
“If God wants me to go, he’ll give me an opportunity.”
“I’m seeking God for what he wants.”
The list goes on and on and on…
The fact of the matter is while these may sound spiritual,they really excuses for doing nothing. Daniel could have waited for any of these but instead he took responsibility and took action.
He began with a few simple characteristics we can all imitate:
1. He did not wait to take action. We can spend the rest of our lives preparing but if it never leads us to action then it is worthless. Daniel took responsibility for his nation and repented. He then stood up for righteousness even when it may have cost him his life. He did not have a 5 or 10 step plan to restore a nation, what he had was a pure heart and an understanding of what pleased God. He acted based on what he knew and God did the rest.
2. He did not depend on everyone else. Daniel could have waited for the people to repent, for the priest to come up with a solution or for the royalty to deal with God. Instead it was up to Him and 3 other boys to show how God’s ways were better for everyone in the palace. He acted independently for the benefit of everyone. Had he waited for the majority vote then we would have never heard of Daniel because someone else would have done his job.
3. He took responsibility. Even though it was not his fault he still stood before God for his entire nation. This meant repenting not only for what he had done but also for the sins of everyone. God saw that Daniel had taken ownership of the nation’s sins and was therefore able to use Daniel to lead and change that nation.
4. He did not accept the status quo. He could have easily accepted the lot he was given. To be honest Daniel had things pretty Good. He was one of the royal eunuchs which meant he could have had the best Babylon had to offer. Instead he chose to keep kosher and honor God. In return, God honored him. There were many times when Daniel could have gone along with what the rest of the nation was doing but instead he stood for righteousness and refused to hide his actions. Imagine a world where if you don’t have a Christmas tree you are put in the electric chair. Would you get a tree? This is the choice Daniel was forced to make when he chose not to pray to the king. His steadfastness to God’s ways eventually won over his society’s way of thinking and the king repented!
5. He was loyal. Even though he lived under the rule of a few wicked kings he remained loyal to them. He always sought the best for them and only disobeyed when they were directly in violation of God’s commands. Even when he disobeyed he did it with humility and respect. This earned him respect and even love from the kings.
In the past I have failed because I failed with example 1. Now that I am aware of this I’m quickly working with the recourses and information I have to create some new products and teachings to help teach and encourage the body of Messiah.
We only fail if we do not grow from our mistakes.