Where is the Lord asking us to draw our line and stand firm in His word?
During this Work His Way series, which has been a lot of fun, to be honest, I’ve really enjoyed it, I had a chance to hear back from a lot of you. We have been able to have some after-service chats on Saturday evenings, but just getting a lot of feedback. I realized that many of us face very challenging situations or are having a hard time staying motivated. A lot of what we’re sharing has tremendous application for us in real life. As you know, the last part of the Work His Way series, which we’re finishing up next week, has been focusing on the life of a man named Daniel. Daniel has a book named after him in the Older Testament. He was a historical figure who had a remarkable way of representing how to work in, what for him was, an extraordinarily challenging work environment, and yet live out his faith.
That’s why we chose Daniel. We’re going to sit with him and his ongoing story a little bit. He lived in one of the most unique times in human history. Sometimes in history, not all years are the same. Even in a country like ours. It’s true, we’ve existed for over 200 years. At the same time, the larger perspective is very small in terms of the scope of nations and their existence. Jesus said that kingdoms rise in kingdoms fall. In ancient history, they were called four great ancient military kingdoms. The Babylonians, the Medes, and the Persians, then followed up with Alexander the Great and the Greeks. Each one of them connected to the development of warfare as an organization.
Finally, the Romans extended their reach all over the ancient world in a way that had never been seen before. The Pax Romana, the peace of Roman force with the law of violence and warfare. That also was the timing that prepared the way for the coming of Messiah, Jesus. Having said that, Daniel was living around the 500s BC. He’s hundreds of years, four centuries before the time of Christ. He witnesses firsthand the turning inflection point in geopolitical history. He watches at an intimate and high level of observability, the fall of Babylon. He’s there when it falls, the kingdom’s turn, and the world power shifts. He watches as the Medes and Persians take Babylon, and the empire falls.
Daniel had a particular challenge that he had to deal with. We talked about how he had to learn how to adapt and walk a high wire of faith and vocation. There was a delicate balancing act that was required of him. He loved God. He was committed to His ways, at the same time he was in a very foreign environment. We know the challenge he faced was that he had to figure out when to stand up for things and when to let things go. He didn’t always know which way to operate. He had to be very adaptable with his faith and work, which makes him a perfect model for you and me. We’re going to look at Daniel 6:1-4. It says, “Darius to me, decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces,” Verse 1. “He appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators, to supervise the high officers and protect the King’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself even more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.” In other words, king Darius, who had been placed in that role by Cyrus the Great, was the one who led the seizure of Babylon.
After Cyrus takes Babylon, he put Darius the king as the one who’s in charge. Darius sets up his new administration and government. He divides the Babylonian land into 120 provinces. Each one of them has a governor, a ruler. Someone, we would call magistrate. The magistrates are overseen by three people. That’s how they restructured it. Daniel was one of the three leaders. He had been carried over from his time serving in the courts of Babylon. Now he’s serving in with a new administration, an entirely new empire with new ways of operating. Word gets around though that there’s some consideration due to the quality of Daniel’s work, that he might be promoted above the other two that he had been given responsibility to rule with. So, of the three, there was real discussion and thought going on with the king, who admired Daniel and his work, that Daniel should be placed above the rest and be given a place in which he was second only to the king, in terms of power and reach.
This was very concerning. One of the things it says in Verse 4, is that the high officers began to search for some fault in the way that Daniel was handling government affairs. In other words, his rivals start to do work to try to figure out, “Is there a way that we can take him down?” They start to do some work to look at his life. How he does his work. Has he got any side deals going on? Has he got some skeletons in the closet? Is there anything they can find to exploit and take him out of this position that he’s being considered for? They want to pull him out. They want to ruin him. Which makes it a lot of sense if you’re looking at it from their perspective. What they found out was they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. Even his enemies looking at his life with a fine-tooth comb could not find anything that they could exploit and say, “Oh, there it is. We can use this against him.” It says that he was pretty much faithful, responsible, and trustworthy. Daniel is the real deal.
One of the things we talked about last week is that you and I, as we seek, and I’m talking to those of us who are at that place in our lives that we really want to sincerely follow Jesus, it matters a lot to us. I know others of us are in a seeking mode, but a majority of us that are at a point where we would say, “The Lord is my Savior. I welcome Him into my life. I’ve made a decision that I want to identify myself with Him. I want to represent Him well. I know I’m imperfect, but I want to be as a quality of a person as I can be.” If that’s our heart, then we will learn from these principles because that’s what they’re designed to do, to help, strengthen, and encourage us. One of the things that are pretty clear here is the Lord does, by Daniel’s example, remind us to commit ourselves to do quality work under the Lord. In other words, to say that we love the Lord and then be a poor worker is a disconnect.
Daniel was good at what he did. He was a skilled administrator and got results. He had established a track record of delivering with excellence. Notice Verse 4, “Faithful, responsible, trustworthy.” In the NIV translation, which is a different translation, it says he was “neither negligent nor corrupt.” Daniel was an unusually gifted man. We get that. We may not all be as gifted in our field as Daniel was in his field, but we can all maximize our ability. I was sharing this with someone, we can all live into our capacity. We can keep improving, keep doing good work. Daniel’s described as being neither corrupt nor negligent. What does that speak of? Corrupt, negligent, honest, attentive. You just flip that over and that’s what you get. All of us can be that. All of us can be honest people. Known for our honesty where we work. Can our employers, our managers, say, “This is an honest man,” or, “This is an honest woman?”
One thing about the faith that they talk about, you could trust them. I could trust them. I trust them. They don’t steal. They don’t skim. They’re not cutting back deals. They’re honest people. For some of us, that’s one of the things the Bible talks about, when people were just coming to know the Lord, the Apostles would remind people, is if you’ve been stealing, stop stealing. Don’t do that anymore. Don’t be a thief. Live under the Lord. Also, the idea of doing good work, being attentive to details. Look what it says there. Daniel was really good at what he did. I think the idea of being attentive means that we can all be honest and attentive. Daniel appears to have been a finisher at what he did. He finished things, which is an important quality. The last 10% separates and leaves an impression. I don’t want to be mean to anybody but I try to remind myself of this; quality often depends on the last 10%. We can work really hard at a project or something that we’re committing ourselves to, and then don’t finish it well. We don’t finish. That last per 10% matters. Jesus talked about going past a tower that was uncompleted. He says people will note that and say, “What was that person thinking? They started it, but they didn’t count the cost.” The idea of finishing matters. Daniel was a finisher.
At least that’s what it appears. He could have allowed his circumstances to affect his attitude and job performance. After all, it wasn’t Daniel’s idea to be in Babylon. It wasn’t like he chose to go there because they had some great jobs going on at the top end. I’m going to head over to Babylon. No, he was taken forcibly with a lot of his own contemporaries by Nebuchadnezzar and brought to Babylon. He didn’t choose to go. He was taken. When Nebuchadnezzar, the great general, takes the land of Israel and Judea in particular, he decided, as was the Babylonian custom, to take the cream of the crop of the young people who were the most gifted, trained, and educated. They would take them, force them into assimilation, and absorb them into Babylonian customs and culture. Daniel was taken with some of the best and the brightest of the Jewish people. Taken forcibly, removed, pulled away from their home community and life, and brought to Babylon to serve at high levels and to be trained in their ways. Daniel didn’t have a choice. It wasn’t he who said, “Oh, this is the job I’ve always wanted. Now I’ve got it.” He couldn’t say I don’t like this job anymore and I’m going to go somewhere else. That option did not exist for him. He knew he probably would never see the people he loved again.
He was going to have to adapt. There was no other alternative for him. Yet he wanted to hold his faith. He wasn’t free to leave. I have to believe as a human being there had to be times when he felt utterly disappointed with his life. Trapped. It’s true. He had a lot of comforts, I suppose, but what good were they when he had no real freedom? He couldn’t communicate as we can today. There were no mechanisms for it. Things that we assume, we can communicate with people in moments, see their faces in ways that I often marveled would’ve seemed like science fiction 50 years ago. Nowadays, we take it for granted and assume it’s going to get faster and better. Daniel was cut off. I know he felt alone. He had to feel sad. If he’s like you and me, there were times where he felt, “How can I even enjoy life, get along with my work?” Maybe some of us feel like he felt, trapped. He felt trapped by his circumstance. There’s no question about it. Maybe some of us feel that way now. Maybe it’s at work, we might feel a little trapped. Stuck with a situation that we can’t change. Or maybe in our life, there’s a situation or two that we feel like, “Man, I can’t really do anything about it.”
Daniel couldn’t control his situation, but he could control his attitude, ethic, and how he worked. That was his choice. Where he worked, he had no choice. In fact, for him, if he didn’t work to some degree in a way that was considered appropriate, he could lose his life. It’s one thing to say you’re going to get fired. It’s another thing to say you’re going to get killed. That’s a very different level. I think we understand that. But that’s not what drove him. He could have done what needed to be done and not had excellence in him. The reason he excelled is that he worked as unto the Lord. He was a difference-maker for God. When we talk about this, he interpreted God, he lived for God.
It’s true, Daniel could have justified, “Why should I be loyal to a God who can’t even take care of His own people? Look where I’m at. Forget God, I’ll just go along with everybody else here.” He didn’t do that. He made a huge difference. Part of it had to do with his attitude. There’s a portion of scripture from Colossians 3. It talks about how we are to be, the kind of attitude, the kind of things that we’re to bring to the table. It says, “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” Colossians 3:16, “Teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom. Singing songs and hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do, in word or anything that you do, what you touch, what you put your life into, do it, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus. Giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” These Verses have a lot to say about how we engage people and how we work. Paul wrote Colossians to a group of Christians, Jesus followers, some of whom were slaves.
It says, “no matter what happens, remember this, that you ultimately work for Jesus. You are his representatives.” That’s how you need to view yourself. Daniel wasn’t a slave in a modern sense. But in an ancient sense, he was. He wasn’t free. He chose to make a difference for God in the framework of unfair limitations. I want to put this up for us to consider. Not that Verse, but the second point. When we’re confronted with limitations, it’s better to focus more on the opportunity to honor God than on the negativity of our situation. One of the things I want to ask is where are we going to focus? Some of us might say, “Well, you don’t know my situation.” I know. Where are we going to focus? What kind of people are we going to be?
What kind of workers are we going to be? What is going to be the dominant theme of our life? That’s a question. I can’t change some things, but how we view it when we’re confronted with limitations in life, we’re going to get a chance to choose. Are you going to focus and get negative, bitter, angry, discouraged, or depressed? All of those words have meaning to them. Our frustration can show up in anger. We take it out on people we love. But really we’re frustrated. For others, it has to do with something that we’re bitter about. We can’t change it. We see it trying to define us. We’re aware of it, but it’s hard. It has to do with the way we’re relating. We feel trapped. Certain things in our life have boxed us in. Some people say, “Well, you have room to maneuver.” But part of us feels we don’t know the expectations that are on us. Some of us live under tremendous expectations of other people. Someone might say, “Well, it shouldn’t matter what people think,” but it does. What if those people are our family? What if those people are people whose opinions matter to us? We have to wrestle with stuff. That can create a lot of internal strife in our lives. How are we going to do this?
If we allow ourselves to focus on what’s wrong and let that start to define us, then we’re just going to get destroyed by it. That’s what could have happened to Daniel. It’s like, “My life’s a disaster.” He could have let that define him, but he didn’t. I want to go back to that Colossians Verse. I want you to see something about it. This one is from the NLT. Look more closely because when we read it through the first time, it may not have really registered. I want us to look at that as a perspective shift. Let the message about Christ in all its richness. Now we’re being given a model for how to do this. It doesn’t look it, but it’s all there.
“Let the message about Christ in all its richness fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with the wisdom He gives. Sing Psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs to God with gratitude, with thankful hearts. Whatever you do or say as a representative of the Lord Jesus. Give me thanks through Him to God, the Father.” What do we see going on there? I kept thinking about our mission statement, the idea of living out our faith in Jesus, inviting others into life with Him. That’s clearly there. What are we being told here? We’re being reminded that the way to do this is to make sure that you have a dominant theme in your life. Have a dominant theme in our lives and reinforce that. What is the dominant theme supposed to be?
Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly. Let that be the dominant immersive theme of your life. Let the message of Christ dwell in you richly. I have a dominant theme. My dominant thing is Christ in my life. I welcome His wisdom into my life. But then what does He say to do? “Let that wisdom also then be complimented with his idea of songs.” What is that? It has to do with a joyfulness that is part of our life. That I have a song in my heart. I’m coupling that with a spirit of gratitude and always reminding myself that I’m also representing the Lord’s heart. Do you see, if we take this into the workplace or our relationships, how this begins to change them? I start by saying my dominant theme is the message of Christ living in me. I will cultivate and always nurture it. I will seek His wisdom in His words. I will allow His words to fill my life with wisdom so that I act with prudence and am capable of being very nimble even in complex situations and environments. As His wisdom grows in my life, I’ll make sure I have something of His joy abiding in me. There’s a song in my heart. We may not all be able to sing like some of the ones up here, but we can all sing with a song in our hearts. What is the song God wants us to sing? There is something about that.
There’s something about the idea of coming into our work environments with the life of Jesus and the song of the Lord in our hearts. “You don’t know my situation.” I’m just saying that’s what we’re being invited to do. It says to accent it with thankfulness and gratitude, focus on the things that God’s placed in our lives to be grateful for, let that be a dominant part of our life. Remember always, as we work, we work as a representative of the Lord. We represent Him. People are going to inform their opinions of Jesus on the basis of what they observe in the lives of people who claim to know and love Him. That’s how they’re going to make their opinions of Him. Everyone is being bombarded with false ideas all the time of who Jesus is. But if they can see His reality in the lives of people, not perfectly, but sincerely, who claim to know and love Him, and are willing to talk about that from time to time, then the quality of the work and the way in which we treat people backs that up. There will be a sense that people will be irresistibly drawn to the Lord. They will at least consider Him in ways they wouldn’t have considered Him before, because of the reality of who He is shining through our lives.
That’s part of what we’re being called to remember. Always, He says, that we are representatives of the Lord. Now watch, because Daniel was dealt a tough hand. He made the best of a tough situation. He didn’t drag his feet. He wasn’t walking around, yielding to defeatism. He didn’t have a dull ethical edge. He did his best. I heard someone say, I can’t remember who it was, but I remember the quote. Remember if you don’t like a situation, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. That’s good medicine. Let’s watch what they did with Daniel. They figured they couldn’t take him out because of the quality of his work. So, they came up with another plan. It says, so they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in with the rules of his religion.” They had a group of people come together to think about how to take him down. Think about that for a moment. They’re having a discussion about, “Hey, how do we think we could take him out?” someone says, “Well, I don’t think if we’re looking for contradictions inside of him, that we’re going to be able to catch him on anything with in terms of what he’s been doing. But there is an area where he’s particularly vulnerable.
I think it has to do with his faith, his dedication to the rules of his religion. He’s vulnerable right there.” One of them came up with a plan that was going to be able to take out Daniel. Watch what happens if someone says, “We’re going to appeal to the King’s ego. We’ll create a scenario that will put Daniel in a place where he will, if we think we know him, end up putting himself in a place where we can take him down. Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” So, the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius. We are all in agreement. We administrators, officials, high officers, advisors, and governors. We’ve come to the conclusion that the king needs to make a law. The law needs to be strictly enforced. What we suggest is that you need to give orders that for the next 30 days any person who prays to anyone, whether that’s divine or human, except to you, Your Majesty, they’ll be killed.” In this case, thrown into a den of lions.
“We’d like to honor you in a special way. You are, as you know, like a God to us. You deserve to be acknowledged exclusively for who you are.” What’s the king going to say at that point? They knew this one rule too. According to the law of the Medes and Persians, once that was signed with the imprint, it was irrevocable. They thought, “This will put Daniel in the place where we know he will put himself in jeopardy.” It says, “Now Your Majesty for the state, issue and signed this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians, cannot be revoked.” So, king Darius, who admired Daniel, didn’t understand it was a trap specifically designed to use his ego and the unique culture as a way to take out Daniel. It says, “When Daniel learned about the law after the king signed it, he went home and he knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with his windows open towards Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.” There’s something inspiring about the simple way this first captures Daniel and his commitment to God. There’s the ordinariness of it. This quiet strength. There’s no flamboyant display, “I’ll show you.” Just understated courage. Verse 11 says, “Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and they found him praying and asking for God’s help.” What do we see here? One of the keys to Daniel’s success had to do with his rhythms of devotion.
Look closely there and you’ll notice things. Daniel was a man of prayer. He was a man of devotion. He had prayer rhythms. There was a physicality to the way he prayed. There was a focus that he had in his prayers. It wasn’t just a random prayer. He could pray. There’s nothing wrong with praying throughout the day at different times. But in Daniel’s case, we’re told that he had a pattern or a rhythm. He followed a pattern that was actually suggested by the Psalmist in Psalm 55. It says, “As for me, I will call upon God. And the Lord shall save me.” Evening, morning, and at noon, “Will I pray and cry aloud, and the Lord will hear my voice.” The idea of praying, in Daniel’s case, according to this pattern, was a part of his life. Morning, evening, and at noon. “I will pray and cry aloud, and the Lord will hear my voice.” I remember a certain time in my life when I thought, I really wanted to drive something home in my heart, and use that as a pattern for prayer. The idea was at the beginning of my day, in the middle of my day, and at the close of my day. Morning, evening, and at noon. Will I pray and cry aloud, and the Lord will hear my voice.
Daniel had a prayer pattern. He had a way of approaching God. We know that Jesus met the Lord. He aligned Himself with the father early in the morning, sometimes before the sun had risen before the day broke, he had already had his time aligning with the Father. It’s interesting. In our church, in our women’s ministry, we have a pretty large group of women who call themselves the High Fivers. They rise at 5:00 AM to do their devotions together. They check in with one another in ways that wouldn’t have been possible in previous generations. Now it can be done. They say for four days a week we’re going to pray at the early time of the day. I admire that greatly. It’s an open group if some of you feel like getting involved. I’m not totally sure how open it is, but I know it’s pretty open. I’m pretty confident about that.
We know something else about Daniel. He had a way in which he prayed that was connected to something that had been written in the book of Chronicles. It says that “when your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city, which you have chosen in the temple, which I have built for your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.” Daniel, based on this, couldn’t go home. He couldn’t be in the sanctuary. He couldn’t go to Jerusalem. So he did what he could do according to what had been presented. He faced towards the west and positioned himself through his windows towards a place that he could not see with his eyes. He prayed to the Lord in the direction of his people. We know one other thing that he did. If you go to Daniel 9, you realize he had this scroll from the prophet Jeremiah. It’s one of the books of the Bible, which still we have. Jeremiah’s scroll in it. Jeremiah had prophesied that Israel, the group being taken to Babylon, after 70 years God would allow them to return to their Homeland. Based on that promise that Daniel read, he would pray into that promise. Even though he may not have ever seen it with his own eyes, he prayed that his people would see it with their eyes. He prayed into that promise. There are so many things for us to glean from this.
This is for us to be able to be strengthened on how to represent the Lord better in our lives. Look at this about prayer. It teaches us a lot about what prayer is for one. Make this a point we can glean about the power of prayer. The power of having dedicated time just to spend with the Lord, to talk to Him, to lay our heartbeat for Him. It talks also about the power of having patterns of prayer. There is something about having regular prayer times. The idea in Daniel’s case was morning, evening, and noon. But the idea of us, like we mentioned, carving out space to spend it with the Lord. The power of prayer coupled with the promises and the principles of God’s Word is right there. If you want to grow, want our power base to be strengthened, want to represent the Lord better, and want a song in your heart, then we will take seriously the carving out of space to do this.
The idea of taking the scriptures, a devotional, the idea of praying, writing out your prayer, or writing out of a passage that speaks. We know that there’s one more thing that Daniel did. We’re talking about the power of claiming those promises. When we claim those promises as our own, they create a distinct blessing in them. There’s a power in it. So that we start saying, “Lord.” Based on this word, I read a Verse. That Verse has great meaning to me. All of a sudden it might feel that’s resonating. There’s something there. It means something in the context of what is being read. It also is like God’s saying, you need to take that word, for where you are right now in your life and claim it as your own. You start to sense an impression that this is a word that you’re meant to claim over this season of your life. You start to pray into that word and let the power of that word begin to take root.
This is how it has been in my life and I’ve watched in the lives of countless others. A word becomes a word. A word becomes a word for us at a season of our life. We are to pray into that word just like Daniel was doing. So, the question is this. Are there promises that God is inviting us to pray into at this particular season in your lives? I think, “Well, Lord. You give us an example,” and I’ll just call this our third piece. The example reminds us to cultivate our devotional life with God because there’s a crucial connection between spiritual devotion and strength of character. Our inner life shows up in our outer life. The outer life usually reveals the inner life. Daniel’s prayer pattern was a core component of his power base. It was part of the way he lived. It was the primary place where his relationship with God was cultivated. It’s where his character and personality were formed, forged, preserved, and strengthened. In other words, I’m saying is Daniel was effective in his outer world, his public world, his workplace world because he paid attention to his inner world. Many times we’re only fooling ourselves if we think that when the heat is on and it’s crunch time. I’m going to be put in a spot where I have to make a call, that I’m going to do the right thing with God because that’s just the way I feel.
No. A lot of times, in the heat of the moment, we fall back into what we’ve been feeding our soul. If we’ve been paying attention to our soul and nurturing our inner life, what will show up in these moments will be things that God can use in a way to represent His heart well. Many times there are reasons for disappointment. When we say, “I can’t believe how weak I was,” or, “Why didn’t I speak up, or, “I should have said this.” In those moments, part of the reason is we haven’t been pouring into our core center with the Lord. We haven’t been cultivating that place. The strength of character is always connected to our devotion spiritually. The two go together. I’m not selling a false bill of goods here. It’s the way it works. We get what we put in. Many times, we need it to show up because we’ve been serious about it at the quiet places when no one sees. It’s us and God, and a few others who are training with us. I’ll leave you with this last piece.
I think, “Lord, there’s going to have to be some line that we’re unwilling to cross when we’re willing to radically risk because we love You.” Daniel got to a point where he had to decide, “What am I going to do? Should I just concede and go along, or do I do what I’ve always done?” He concluded that there was a line. This was his death line. He couldn’t cross it. He was almost saying, “If I cross this line, I’ve sold my soul.” Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man, or a woman, to gain the whole world and you lose your soul?” There are some places like Jim Elliot who ended up giving his life, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep gaining what he cannot lose.” That was a man who lost his life in Ecuador in the ’50s, living it out. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep gaining what he cannot lose. There are moments where God calls us to take a stand and we can go no further. It’s not science. It’s art. Our lines aren’t always the same. In our workplace, there’ll be different things, but there will be a place we’re brought to where for us to cross that line is to give away the core of who we are, and our love for Him. Can’t do it. To gain Him. The pearl of great price by which person sells all they have to have it.
Let’s pray. Lord, I ask You to be with us in this Word. It was meant to strengthen and encourage us, Lord. I pray not trying to guilt people in anything beyond wanting us to be qualitatively capable of representing You. Not just in the way we work and the quality of our work, but also in the way we affect other people. So much of our interactions have to do with people’s issues. It’s not always easy to know exactly what we’re supposed to do, say, or draw our line. But there are tools that we can use that will strengthen us to be able to represent You well, Lord. We want to follow in Your steps. We want to try. We’re not going to do it perfectly, but we want to do it better. Help us along the way to shine Your light in the places where we have influence and effect. Help us to be life-givers in Your name. Wounded healers are capable of inviting others into the place where we have found life. In a culture and place where so many are hurting and don’t know what to do. They’re trying so many things to fill the need. You wait with open arms. You’re waiting with an unquenchable love and You call us all to it. I asked for us to be a blessing. I pray for Your blessing over these closing minutes and time of giving, as we honor You together. I know a lot of us are doing this online now, but I pray for our time of giving. It’s what allows us to have a church. I ask You, Lord, also to be with our closing song. Let it be the final word. This brings to closure what we’ve just shared, and let this resonate throughout the week. This is what I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.