One of the best places to find such an example for us is in the Biblical book of Daniel. We all know about Daniel and the lions den. We know about the fiery furnace. But what in Daniel have we missed? He is a guy who lived as a difference maker in ungodly Governments. He lived and he rose to high levels of influence in these Government systems without compromising his faith in God and the practice thereof. Daniel had rulers call upon him to solve major issues. And this was done knowing who Daniel was and where Daniel stood. There are some timely lessons for us from the life of this man.
Purpose to be a Difference Maker
Daniel was not out to make points and show his righteousness off for all to see. He determined at a young age to impact people regardless. We love scoring points. We love to put something out to the masses that "hits the mark"! But do we realize that our points make little impact? And if no impact is made - why are we making the point. Andy Stanley in an interview recently about his invite to preach the pre inaugural message in DC, made the following statement:
"Make a difference. Don't be satisfied with making a point." It's easy to make a point. If you have a computer, a blog, a Twitter account, you can make a point. But you're not going to make a difference with your points. We have been called to be difference makers."
This statement highlights exactly what I am speaking about in Daniels life. It would have been easy for Daniel to make points about all of the evil doings in the ungodly Governments he lived under. Equally, Daniel could have decided that he would go public and bash all leaders who did not agree with him and his beliefs. Daniel had truth on his side. But Daniel took a different path. He determined to be a difference maker.
Purpose to Edify even in Confrontation
To easy for many of us is the trap to forget that our words matter. The Bible says that we are to be slow to wrath and always edifying. We know this is not an easy thing to do. Yet when we edify and speak with with words of respect and value, we gain favor. We tear down walls and open doors for greater influence. All because of how we speak. To encourage is to to earn the opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with those we may disagree with. A harsh point made loses the opportunity for further discussion and speaks to a desire for no influence at all. The apostle Paul said:
6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
This type of speech is not easy when we are under attack. Our emotions rise quickly. Our warrior instinct swells to a point of battle readiness. And yet it is at this moment, we risk the most. When we are demonized we stand at a major crossroads. We must remember this:
It means nothing for me to win a debate. It means everything to earn the right to develop a relationship and become a difference maker in someones life.
For we are called to be Difference Makers!