Outreach as Citizens

As followers of Christ in these troubled days of drugs, gangs, crime, poverty, wars, and so forth, the necessity to “let your light shine before men” (Matt. 5:16, NIV) is greater than ever.

As a member of Hawaii’s House of Representatives, I have the opportunity to speak for what is right and against what is wrong. I have been able to advocate for tough penalties for those convicted of abusing children, for more money for prevention and education programs, and for the elimination of government waste. There are times when it is tempting to compromise, but I am heartened by the example of Daniel, who under threat of execution did what was right, not in the people’s sight but in God’s.

The Bible is replete with many excellent role models of those who were shining examples under adverse circumstances or in situations wherein they were asked to compromise their principles. One young man and his youthful companions come to mind.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were children of Israel who were taken in chains to live with a foreign king in a heathen court wherein could be found all manner of worldly temptations.

Daniel and his friends refused to defile themselves and, at the risk of losing their very lives, asked for a God-ordained diet instead, thus showing the world that they were willing to stand as witnesses of God at all times and places and in all circumstances. The youth, of course, were healthier than the rest. The Scriptures say they were “ten times better” (Dan. 1:20, NIV). As we see in Daniel 1:19: “They entered the king’s service” (NIV).

These were mere boys, but because they upheld the faith of their parents, they were deemed capable of offering advice and counsel to the king.

As modern-day Daniels, we may have the opportunity to stand before kings, presidents, rulers, and elected officials and speak truth.

Our young men and women are bombarded with images. They often look to sports stars, actors, and fashion models for examples of success. We should emulate the acts of courage and devotion exhibited by Daniel and his three friends. We should dare to be a Daniel.

Activities

  • Read about Daniel and his friends in the book of Daniel.
  • Discuss pressing issues in your own community, state, province, or country that affect you and your beliefs and those that might compromise your values.
  • Host a prayer meeting, as Daniel and his friends did, to “seek mercies from the God of heaven” (2:18, NKJV).
  • As you become more informed of the issues affecting your area, call or write your government officials and let them know what you think. If you live where this is not possible, coordinate prayer sessions for your leaders so that they might make the right decisions.
  • If possible and necessary, write petitions, organize rallies, or do whatever it takes to support or oppose specific legislation. Let your voice be heard. You can also support good candidates by volunteering to work with their campaigns. Conduct praise sessions to show gratitude to the God of heaven, who gives us all “wisdom and might” (verse 20, NKJV).

David A. Pendleton
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists