Daniel 2:46-49 (Part 2) – Eating the Elephant One Bite At a Time

Posted: May 26, 2016 in 27-Daniel

Daniel 2:46-49 (Part 2)

Nebuchadnezzar Rewards Daniel

One of the things that Elena and I have learned over the past 5 years of leadership at our church is that when it comes to major church events that you have to break down these events into their component parts and then assign leaders to those component parts. For example, the biggest event that our church puts on each year is what we call the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway. At that event, we give away around 500 complete Thanksgiving meals to needy families in our area. It is different from what most churches do where they invite people to their church for a prepared meal (which of course is a big undertaking itself). What we do differently is that we give a family a turkey and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal that they can take home and prepare themselves and have a Thanksgiving meal in their own home with their own family. We also give away coats or blankets to these families as well. We allow them time to sit in our worship auditorium and relax after they get inside our doors. While there, they are given coffee and snacks and they hear a message of welcome and from the word of God from one or more of pastors. They then are called in groups of ten or so and they go the prayer tables for individual prayer with our prayer team. Then they move onto selecting coats, then being given the grocery bags full of meal fixings and then on to the refrigerated truck to get their turkey. It’s a different twist to helping the less fortunate.


It is a major undertaking at our church and requires much planning and many people. The event is so big that it would be overwhelming if you did not break it down into smaller functional areas and assign leaders to those areas. If you tried to do it all yourself, you would fail miserably. We had to identify the functional areas. They included Coat Donation/Giveaway, Food Donations, Event Day Food Distribution Logistics, Worship Center Logistics (Set-up & Tear-down), Media Team, Parking, Security, Guest Registration, Hospitality Team, Prayer & Counseling and a Troubleshooting Team. As you can see, it is a major church event with many moving parts. As they say, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. The event is huge and you have to gather a team of people to lead each of the areas mentioned. You have to manage these people but let them do the detailed work in their areas of responsibility. I thought of the Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway when I read the second half of the passage that we started reading yesterday. Let us then read what Daniel did when he was appointed ruler over the province of the capital city of the Babylonian Empire in Daniel 2:46-49:


46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”


48 Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. 49 Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.


After being named ruler over the whole province of Babylon, the capital city of the empire and one of the largest cities in the world at that time, and being placed in charge of all the wise men in the emperor’s palace, Daniel requested that his companions, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, be appointed as his assistants to help him carry out his massive responsibilities. Daniel knew he could not handle all these responsibilities by himself. He knew he needed capable assistants so he chose the best men he knew. A competent leader never does all the work alone but knows how to delegate and supervise. Before Daniel, Moses realized with the advice of Jethro that he could not manage be the judge of disputes for the whole nation of Israel by himself. Not only would he wear himself out but there would be this continual huge backlog of cases to be heard. He broke the justice system of Israel down into levels where only the most complex cases rose to his level for hearing (see Exodus 18:13-27). Daniel had the humility to know that he could not carry out his responsibilities all by himself. There was not enough time and there were administrative tasks for which he was not suited to perform because he was not talented in that way. He was responsible for it all but he delegated those parts of his job where he (1) did not have time to do them himself and/or (2) did not have the expertise to do the job well. It takes humility to be a good leader. You must be able to take responsibility for the whole smash of things that you have been assigned but yet select people to assist you and trust that they will do they job under your leadership.


There is a lesson here for us all from both a practical and a spiritual standpoint. From a practical standpoint, there is a lesson in leadership here. We must understand that often we will be given large tasks to accomplish and we may feel overwhelmed by them, maybe even to the point of giving up and saying that you can’t do it. However, big tasks are simply a collection of small tasks acting together in concert. Any time we are assigned a big project, study it. See what its smaller tasks are. And then we must have the humility to understand that we need help. The failure of many people in leadership positions is that we fail to realize that we need help or are unwilling to say we need help. Big projects are often humbling experiences. But they can be oh so rewarding when we you pick the right team members and they all work together toward the goal and accomplish it. Those are the high five times. When you have lead a group of people to accomplish a major task and it comes off almost flawlessly (and you compensated for the flaws of the plan), there is no more satisfying experience than that. It first starts with realizing that the task is too big for you alone.


From a spiritual perspective, the lesson here is that we must be humble and trust in the Lord to help us to overcome major obstacles. The project of managing a large city and also the emperor’s wise men where no one had been in charge of these things before was daunting task. He had to create structure where they had been not been any before. These are the times that we learn humility before the Lord. When we are overwhelmed by the circumstances of our lives, that is when we are most teachable. We must realize that we are not in control. We must realize that we need help from the Lord. When we realize that we are not in control of the universe but that God is, we have started down the road of spiritual maturity. When we realize that we are dependent on God to handle our lives, it makes it easier for us to go to him in prayer. It makes it easier for us to have a relationship with Him when we are not trying to be our own god and manage our own lives. We are but men and He is God, the mighty eternal One. When we learn humility before the Lord, we are ready to be matured by Him into what He has intended for us all along.


Amen and Amen.

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