November 11, 2020
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
If you reorient your priorities as we talked about on Monday, you can expect people around you to respond the way Nebuchadnezzar did. Here’s a personal example. For many years I worked in an industry driven by greed and fear. Everyone around me worked insane hours in pursuit of the next dollar or client. And I was right in step with all of them. 80-100 hour weeks were common. For years I would get up at 2am to trade the European currency markets – working from home until I left for the office at 8am. I would return home at 6 or 7pm, eat dinner, and go straight to bed in order to try and get a couple hours of sleep before doing it all over again the next morning. I was worshipping at the altar of money and career, driven by caffeine and greed. In the midst of that decade, a personal tragedy snapped me out of my obsession. I looked up to see my family in shambles, my marriage in crisis, and realized I was a wholly unfamiliar person to my young kids.
I committed to making a drastic change. I cut my hours in half. I gave up my pursuit of becoming a millionaire. And as I shifted my focus of worship, those around me in my field and in my office responded like Nebuchadnezzar. My boss was upset that I wouldn’t stay late and come in early anymore. I was asked, “How are you going to pay for college or retire?” I was told that my lack of commitment would have a negative affect on my career trajectory. They were, like Nebuchadnezzar, laying out the very real consequences of my shift in focus. To paraphrase vs. 15:
“If you are ready to fall down and worship your career, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will never be successful. Then who will hire you? How will you provide for your family?”
How about you? Do you hear that refrain from your parents, co-workers, advisors, or friends? Maybe it’s not your career, but maybe a dysfunctional relationship is in that place of worship. Maybe it’s keeping up appearances in your neighborhood or on social media. Do you fear the consequences of shifting your focus? We will talk more about that shift on Friday, as we see how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego responded to the King. But for now, be honest about that fear. Take it before God and acknowledge whether fear is keeping you on your knees, facing the wrong direction. I can personally attest to God’s faithfulness and I’m eager to share that part of my story. But today, start with some brutal honesty about your current reality. Had I been willing to do that, I would have saved myself years of heartache, and I would have saved my family from significant pain as well. You can start the healing today.