An Excellent Spirit- Rev. Ryan Petersen
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
One of my favorite portions of scripture is found in Daniel chapter 6 concerning leadership, having a right attitude, and having a right spirit. Where Daniel, a Hebrew outsider, was brought into Babylon and he was eventually put into a leadership position by King Darius. We read that King Darius had 120 satraps (These were leaders under the King on the local level) and then above them were 3 high officials. One of those 3 high officials being Daniel.
What I love about this, is that in Daniel’s role as a high official and in his season of serving, he distinguished himself and set himself apart from the rest of the leaders under King Darius. There was something special and something different about his attitude, about his spirit, and about his approach towards leading. What’s so cool is that because of this, King Darius decided to just go ahead and put him in charge of the entire kingdom. All because of his “Excellent Spirit”.
This story in the Word reminds me of a few years ago when I was youth pastoring. We were in the middle of a 3-week sermon series centered around the verse that says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might.” And mid sermon series, around week 2, I began to notice the youth room looking really, really nice! Don’t get me wrong, we made sure to keep it looking good, but things looked exceptionally good after a few weeks. The carpets were vacuumed. The Bibles, mics, pens and notepads were all put away nicely. The chairs were straitened perfectly. I mean, whoever was doing this was doing a great job, but nobody would claim ownership. So, I started to ask around.
Lo and behold a student from the youth group called me and let me know that he had decided to go ahead and take on the challenge from the sermon series that was being taught and that he felt a desire to serve by cleaning the youth room.
A few months later, Christmas happened to fall on a Sunday. It was a great day and a great service, but I remember people were quick to leave the church facility so that they could get to their family Christmas parties. As I was walking around the church that day, long after service had been dismissed, I noticed this same student upstairs, on Christmas, cleaning the youth room. He wasn’t being asked. He wasn’t getting paid. He wasn’t jetting out, since it was Christmas. He was staying back to serve. And what I saw that day was someone that was living out this “Excellent Spirit” that we read about in Daniel chapter 6.
I wanted to write on this subject during such a crazy time in our world because, more than ever, I believe Jesus is looking for His people and His church to take on and live out the exceptional qualities that come from Him and His Word.
That, if there was ever a time that this world is looking for people to give without expecting anything in return, it’s now. That, if there was ever a time that this world is looking for people full of joy, it’s now. That, if there was ever a time that this world is looking for compassionate people, it’s now!
I pray that, as the church, we are pursuing an “Excellent Spirit” and that it becomes something that overflows into our homes, in our conversations, into our workplace, in how we handle adversity or defeat or challenge. That no matter what comes our way I am CHOOSING joy. I am CHOOSING a right attitude and I am CHOOSING an “Excellent Spirit”.
I want to leave you with one last verse from Paul to the church in Corinth where he says: I am sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. (2 Corinthians 6:10)
Paul was essentially saying, “I’ve had some hardship and I have had some difficulty, but I have made up my mind that I am choosing a right spirit.”
I pray that as you read this today, you are moved and challenged to take on and live out the exceptional qualities that come from God. Whether it be in our attitude towards work, or in how we treat and care for others or how we simply live out our life… Let us press towards this “Excellent Spirit” found in the Word of God.