I expect we are all familiar with the Bible stories of “Daniel in the lions’ den” and “Daniel in the fiery furnace”. Many of us will have known them since Sunday School. But are you familiar with the account of Daniel and the King’s food? (Dan 1:1-21)
Our house group studied that passage this week. A passage in which Daniel, an exiled Jew in Babylon, takes a stand against the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel refuses to eat food and wine from the king’s table. A minor act of disobedience, a trivial personal sacrifice we might think, yet it was a spiritually significant decision. A decision by which Daniel showed Nebuchadnezzar that his loyalty was to a higher authority, the God of heaven and earth.
At the 1924 Paris Olympics the athlete Eric Liddell made a similar personal sacrifice to show where his loyalties lay. Despite the incomprehension and criticism of many, Liddell chose not to compete in the heats of the 100 metre sprint because they were held on a Sunday. Liddell reserved Sundays for worship, not world-class athletics, so he went to church as usual, putting his loyalty to God before anything else. A powerful statement to the watching world. Liddell later went on to win Olympic medals in both the 200 and 400 metres.
To discover more about the life of this remarkable Christian man, do come and see the Searchlight Theatre Company’s performance of “Chariot: The Eric Liddell Story” in the Ministry Centre next Friday, 26th April at 7.30pm. All welcome.
Like Daniel and Eric Liddell, every Christian is called to show that our ultimate loyalty is to God, not the world. For us this may not mean refraining from certain food or refusing to run on a Sunday, but it might mean refraining from office gossip, putting Christian ministry before social activities, or boldly sharing our faith when opportunities arise. When it came to the crunch, Daniel and Eric Liddell preferred to please God than please the world. What about you and I?