Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Lion's Share -- Daniel 6

I have had my share of "lion encounters," most of them because I ventured into places where lion's dwell. Place in which I should not of meandered. Most of my encounters could not be classified in the same manner of Daniel's as recorded in Daniel chapter six. His encounter was not because he had traveled into places that he should not have gone, but rather, he found himself in the lion's lair because he was found doing the very thing that he should have been doing.

Stated another way, most of the trouble I find myself in, is trouble I deserve. OUCH! Yet, there have been those times in which I have been doing exactly as I should and as a result I discover myself in the midst of a snarling, growling nemesis. I can't say I enjoyed being in either situation, but at least with the latter, I had a sense of "suffering for righteousness sake."

My upcoming sermon is going to be about (Lord willing), "How to Make a Difference in Our World." Looking at Daniel's life we can gain insight about how one should live if they desire to make a real difference in their world, even though that "difference" may not always be well accepted. Not everyone is thrilled with a life of integrity and consistency. But it was these very character traits which God used blessed the nation, even a "heathen" nation.

As I read through this chapter I am challenged by Daniel's consistent character. What you saw is what you got...everything. Boy, is there a lesson there for me.

A question, should you, my reader, care to enter in: "Have you ever found yourself in the "lion's den" because of the consistency of your character?" "Did God shut the mouth of the lion?" Care to share your story? Maybe God would use your encounter, as He did Daniel's, to bring encouragement to many.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Okay, well sorry this is a long one. Good questions though. I needed to write this for myself anyway.
-----
Years ago when I was in my twenties, (thank God for old age – I don’t have to worry about this kind of thing anymore) – but I digress – anyway, we were all at a Company party and my boss who had had a little too much to drink leaned over and said, “If I divorce my wife, will you go out with me?”

I pretended I didn’t hear what he said and moved along to join another group of people at the party. Then I went back to work the next day hoping that was the end of it. For a while I was relieved because nothing more was said even though I worked with him daily. Alas, instead I picked up the office phone a few months later and he was on the line. His voice was slurred from the obvious “liquid” lunch he had just finished and he started telling me he loved me and that he wanted me to go out with him after work that night.

I wasn’t a Christian then, but I did not date married men and his offer to divorce his wife if I went out with him did not make him seem any less married to me so when he got back from lunch, I went into his office and indignantly told him that I wanted him to leave me alone.

The next day, he sat me down and did an evaluation on me threatening to fire me because “in the last few months,” my “performance had deteriorated drastically.” It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I think of it exactly like getting thrown into the Lion’s Den. Fortunately for me, the company I worked for had a union and I had a witness that testified that he came back from lunch that day drunk and drooling and slobbering on and on about how he had fallen in love with me and he was also still drunk when he talked to his boss about it and admitted he had asked me out and then started going on and on about how he couldn’t evaluate me in an unbiased manner because of his feelings toward me. So I just got transferred to another department instead of losing my job.

Sexual harassment is what they call it nowadays but that was a brand new term and something that was just coming to light in those days. It is the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life. I just wanted to die. Within days, he had spread a rumor far and wide that I had “led him on” which if I did, I certainly didn’t do intentionally. I did not feel righteous though. I felt humiliated and shamed and for some reason, my reputation felt tarnished.

My philandering boss’s boss, on the other hand, was a devout Catholic and devoted to his wife. I know because I worked in the same office with him daily too, but the rumor my philandering boss started had spread far and wide and he was upset and embarrassed in front of his colleagues because he worked with both of us daily yet hadn’t noticed anything amiss so the next day I found myself sitting in his office while he screamed at me, “Why didn’t you come to me and talk to me?”

I answered that I didn’t think he would believe me and sobbed that I didn’t do anything wrong. All I did was “refuse to go out with a married man.” He calmed down and seemingly instantly forgave me for his embarrassment and gently reassured me that I wasn’t the one who was in trouble here.

But I was the one who left that department, not my philandering boss so I felt like I sort of got tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail – well out of that department anyway. And of course the devout Catholic Christian boss got transferred to another department as well.

The boss who took his place was a man who had a reputation for dating various women in the company even though he was married. He later divorced his wife and married the other girl that worked in that office after they dated openly while he was still married for a couple of years. For that matter, HIS boss also divorced his wife and married HIS secretary. The boss who had sexually harassed me while he was drunk (on the job no less) got promoted shortly after that as well. The whole department was full of married men dating women who worked for them.

I truly believe that I belonged to Jesus and I was one of his sheep and even though I was not saved at that time, God was drawing me into his kingdom out of the kingdom of darkness. I felt shamed and embarrassed at the time because I felt as if I was being sort of exiled from that department, but God was just separating me out – getting me ready for sanctification or something. My reputation preceded me from then on in every office or department I ever transferred into and you can bet no boss ever sexually harassed me again even though I worked at that company for another 16 or 17 years.

The only two people who were transferred out of that department were the two who were trying to live righteously. Neither of us ever got promoted again, but what good is to gain the world if one loses their soul? We were both laughed at and despised and the brunt of many jokes for years by those who remained in that department, but today I realize that God was determined I would build my house on the rock and not the sand. I don’t understand all that predestination versus free will stuff, and certainly I made some free will choices, but God also opened doors and slammed some other doors shut as well.

gentledove

Pastor Randy said...

gentledove,

Wow! You've seem to have truly met some lions head-on and been scratched at, bitten, dare I say, even mauled, in the process. I am thankful that you are able to look back upon it nad see God's hand and presence during those days.

It is interesting to see your understanding that God's "saving hand" was upon you even before you responded to His "saving grace." What a great and merciful God we have.

Thank you for your willingness to share from your depths. I pray others will be encouraged and drawn to the gracious Lord through the openness of your heart.

Pastor Randy