It Makes All the Difference

We once had a friend named Richard, a handyman who fixed small motors and engines. He had a faithful dog that kept him company everyday in his shop. This dog excitedly jumped to greet Richard, and then followed him around like a shadow, giving him affection, and acting like she thought he was the best man in the world. One day while observing all this, I complimented the dog. Richard smiled and said, “You know, she’s the same every day and after all these years, she’s never complained once.”

It’s a shame more people don’t have the same kind of disposition that Richard’s dog had: a good attitude. But it is possible. Remember God’s prophet Daniel? When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, Daniel, along with others, was taken captive to Babylon. In this process, he was forcibly stripped of his freedom, homeland, name, and ultimately his manhood (Daniel 1). He was placed in the charge of “the prince of the eunuchs” (1:7), which meant he was castrated to make him a safer subject in proximity to the king and his realm. Daniel could have responded to all these brutal events with anger and resentment, but he didn’t. The queen described Daniel as one who had “an excellent spirit” (5:12). It was because of this quality that Daniel had been elevated to “master” of the king’s magicians and astrologers. As the king observed Daniel, he elevated him further for his good attitude. Daniel 6:3 states, “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.”

A famous preacher once commented that he believed attitude was more important than facts, education, money, circumstances, failure, or skill, that it will make you or break you.* Proverbs 17:27 says it this way: “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” Like Daniel, each of us can make a conscious choice to have a good spirit, or attitude, no matter what our circumstances. We can choose not to complain, be bitter, resentful, or negative. We can choose to exalt our Savior with not just a good attitude but with “an excellent spirit.” Is this going to describe you today?

~ Pastor John Fredericksen

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