Taking a Stand: Daniel, Food & Movies

by: Larry Davies | Jul 9, 2017

Years ago, living as a small church pastor in a rural area, I would occasionally rent movies from the local video store. One day while browsing, I noticed a sign on a door: “No one under twenty-one allowed.” I thought. “Well, I’m twenty-one. Let’s take a peek!” Big mistake! The pictures on the video boxes told the story. I had no idea pornography was available in our small town. 

I had a dilemma! How should I respond? What would you do?

 

  1. Turn in my video card and self-righteously tell the owner a thing or two?
  2. Continue renting videos? After all, I wasn’t looking at the pornography.
  3. Organize a petition drive and a boycott to close down the store?
  4. Celebrate the owner’s right of free speech and write a complimentary letter?

 

Often it’s the little things that tell the world exactly who we are and what we truly believe.

 

In the book of Daniel, the Israelites were enslaved by the Babylonians. Several youth were selected to live in the kings’ palace. They would be taught the way of the Babylonians and given only the best food and wine. They would be trained and promoted to serve as the King’s advisors. It was a grand honor. One of the young men chosen was Daniel.

 

“But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief official for permission to eat other things instead.” (Daniel 1:8) The official was alarmed. “If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded for neglecting my duties.” (1:10) Daniel suggested a test of feeding him a diet of vegetables and water for ten days. After ten days, Daniel looked healthier.      

 

My mother would say, “Larry, this is why you should eat your vegetables?”

 

O.K. Mom, but this story is more about having the courage to take a stand. “When the crowd goes one way, will you go another?” Daniel faced a turning point that would mark him forever as a servant of God. It would be so much easier to follow the King’s directions. After all, it was just a little food and wine. Wouldn’t it be smarter to simply go along?

 

But Daniel took a stand. It’s also important that we learn “how” Daniel took a stand.

 

  1. He didn’t judge anyone. He talked to the person in charge and explained himself.
  2. He offered a face-saving alternative. He proposed a test to see if his idea worked.
  3. God blessed Daniel and his courage with opportunities for ministry.

 

Often, it’s the little things that tell the world exactly who we are and what we truly believe. When you do take a stand for what you believe that can be a turning point in your life and a significant witness of your faith to others.

 

A couple visited the same store, saw the pornography and responded. First, they met with the owner but when that didn’t work they stood in front of the store and distributed leaflets. “We are concerned about the influence of pornography on the increasing problems of child abuse, spousal abuse and teen pregnancy. We encourage you to temporarily rent videos from another source until this store discontinues the rental of X-Rated material.”

 

Motivated by their example, I joined the couple, turned in my video card and eventually convinced the local newspaper to write about the protest. Other churches and ministers took up the cause and urged the community to join in. The storeowner was furious and steadfastly refused to stop renting pornography! So nothing really changed or did it? Inspired by their courage, I changed and others around us changed. We learned the importance of taking a stand for God!   

 

Often it’s the little things that tell the world exactly who we are and what we truly believe.

 

So, how do we apply these lessons today? You could start in these areas:

 

  • Your Family: With the pressure of work, school, homework and extracurricular activities, it’s easy to skip family togetherness. But, if you make the effort and find time your children will benefit.
  • Your Neighbors: It’s hard to take time to start a conversation with a neighbor or invite them to share a meal. But, if you do have that conversation or share that meal the benefits are priceless.
  • Your Community: It’s so tempting to say, I’ve done enough. I don’t have time for the PTA or the Lion’s Club or my neighborhood association. But, when you take the time you discover new people and become part of something bigger.
  • Your Country: We just finished celebrating Fourth of July which for most means a day off and a cook-out. But Fourth of July is also a reminder that we live in one of the greatest countries in the world and with that privilege comes a responsibility to give back.
  • God and Your Church: How do you find time to pray, read the Bible and attend church? But the reward is a peace only God provides. When you pray, read the Bible and attend church, you will discover new energy and a revitalized passion never felt before.  

 

Often, it’s the little things that tell the world exactly who we are and what we truly believe. When you do take a stand for what you believe that can be a turning point in your life and a significant witness of your faith to others.

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