Max Lucado tells of an extraordinary professional baseball pitcher who performed very few extraordinary feats. Though a veteran of 21 seasons, in only one did he win more than twenty games. He never pitched a no-hitter, and only once in his career did he lead the league in any category. That was in 1980, when he led the National League with a 2.21 earned run average. Yet on June 21, 1986, pitcher Don Sutton rubbed shoulders with the true legends of baseball pitchers when he became only the 30th pitcher in baseball to win 300 games. His own analysis of his success is worth noting. ‘I am a grinder and a mechanic. I never considered myself flamboyant or exceptional. But all my life I’ve found a way to get the job done.’ And get it done he did. Through two decades, six presidential terms, four trades to other teams, he consistently did what pitchers are paid to do: win. With tunnel vision, he spent 21 seasons redefining greatness, yet most of you never heard of his name. In September 1986, Inside Sports Magazine called him the ‘family sedan’ of baseball’s men on the mound. He certainly boasted none of the Ferrari style of the last thirty game winner, Denny McClain, who rose to stardom but faded quickly. He boasted none of the Mercedes sparkle of a Sandy Koufax, but after their types were parked in museums or junk piles, Don Sutton was still on the mound ‘getting the job done.’”
There are many Ferraris, Mercedes and Porsches in the Bible. People like Paul, David, Moses, and others, who speed across the pages of the Bible accomplishing great things for the glory of God. But Daniel is like the trusty “family sedans.” He is steady, and He is always faithful. Most people know the story of Daniel and the lion’s den, but what most people don’t know is that this event happened when Daniel was in his eighties! After Daniel was taken as a slave during the Babylonian Captivity he gradually moved up on the totem pole of their society. Daniel had interpreted dreams for Kings, and he had become one of the most trusted men in their Kingdom. As a result he was exalted from being a slave to bring a ruler. Now we are told that King Darius appointed 120 princes to rule over his kingdom. These men helped insure that Darius and his kingdom were protected from theft, tax evasion, and military revolts. Apparently, these men ruled over a specific province of the kingdom.
Over these 120 men were three men who ruled with Darius as vice-regents. But over them all was Daniel, who answered directly to the king. As the story goes in Chapter 6 some people became jealous of Daniel, and then plotted against him by manipulating the King to make a law that only He would be prayed to for a period of 30 days. The king liked the idea of being the center of everyone’s thoughts, and so He agreed. However, he hadn’t calculated how this would impact his good friend Daniel. Now you know the rest of the story. Daniel is thrown into a lion’s den, and the King is deeply troubled by it. In fact, the king doesn’t sleep the entire night. The next morning the king rushes to the cave to see if God had protected Daniel. When the King arrives he cries out to Daniel to see if he is alive, and Daniel responds that God had in fact been faithful to protect him. The king rejoices, sends out a letter about the God of Daniel throughout the kingdom, and puts the people who set the trap for Daniel as well as their families in the lion’s den.
The story of Daniel is a story of faith and a long lasting relationship with God. In the end because of his immovable faith, he impacts an entire nation for God. There is so much more we can gain from this story. However, this Sunday at 10:45 we will further unpack the deeper truths from this story that impacts all of us today! Please join us this Sunday at 10:45 for our worship service online. We will continue our new series entitled “Uncertain.” Be sure to watch us at 10:45 at southsidewch.com/latest-message, or on our Facebook page.
South Side Church of Christ