20 Random Acts of Kindness
The book of Daniel begins with the story of four young men who are taken into Babylonian captivity. While in captivity the Babylonians attempted to change the ways of these men, they taught them their language and literature (Daniel 1:4) and even changed their names (Daniel 1:7). Even though they attempted to change everything about them, these young men never wavered on what they truly believed in.
In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are confronted with a situation. In the beginning of the chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar makes an image of gold and commands that all the people in the land bow down to it when one hears the sound of an instrument (Daniel 3:4-5) and if a person does not bow down to it, they will be placed into the blazing furnace (Daniel 3:6). As one could likely guess, these three do not bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s image of gold. They make a bold statement (Daniel 3:16-18), declaring that they will never bow down and if they are punished, their God will save them from the furnace. At the end of the chapter, God not only saves the men (Daniel 3:24-26), but Nebuchadnezzar makes another public declaration recognizing the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and extending protection to them.
There are numerous takeaways from this story, but the one that stands out most to me is that standing up for what we believe in must be followed up by our actions. It is one thing to wear the nametag “Christian,” but it is another to act like one. Jesus emphasizes the importance of actions in his parable referencing the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46) This powerful passage reminds us that it matters how we look at others, how we care for others, and how we show love to others. This week, let us combine the bold faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with the love of the sheep that Jesus talks about in Matthew 25.