Keep Your Gifts For Yourself – Daniel 5:16
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that the prophet Daniel is one of my favorite people in the Bible. Yesterday I found yet another reason to admire him even more. He was uncompromising yet continually acted with diplomacy and grace.
This particular time he was asked to interpret handwriting on the wall of the king. The handwriting appeared during a feast and was extremely disturbing; enough so that the king’s “hip joints went slack, and his knees began knocking together.” (Daniel 5:6)
Daniel was called in because he could “give interpretations and solve difficult problems.” (Daniel 5:16) His reward would be great – purple garments, gold, and best of all power; he would be third in authority over the kingdom. Yes, Daniel was willing to tell the king what the hand on the wall said but as for the gifts, here was his reply.
“Keep your gifts for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else.” (Verse 17) Isn’t that unusual? Daniel served the one true God and his ministry to anyone on the Lord’s behalf was not for sale. I think the Church and Christian ministries should follow Daniel’s heart in this example. We live in times when money has become king and it’s easy to become “beholding” to it. No church or minister starts out that way but bit by bit it can happen.
Giving is the joy of God’s people and we are required and privileged to give but those who receive need to be careful like Daniel. His priorities were kept straight. “Freely you received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)