Daniel – Tips for a Successful Transition
A “greybeard” is not a pirate or Native American chief, but a former military leader sought out by the current leaders for advice. Greybeards cannot make decisions or assume responsibility for the current leaders, but they can share tips and advice from lessons learned when they called the shots.
When it comes to advice on how to thrive in transition, one of the best greybeards in Scripture is Daniel. Caught up in a forced transition from freedom in Judah to captivity in Babylon, he became a servant in a foreign king’s palace. Daniel’s journey yields valuable tips for success in transition by observing what he did, not only to survive, but also to thrive.
Transitions that involve a change in venue will bring new people and new methods. Every new situation is accompanied by adjustment to the “new.” Encountering new cultural norms, institutional standards, community traditions, or the personal habits of new neighbors, coworkers, or friends can be disconcerting.
Daniel found himself immersed in a completely new society where the language, people, customs, and religion were all different from his own. Yet, in the midst of all that was new, he determined to maintain the personal values instilled from a child. His new situation required him to study and learn about the local pagan religion. His captors even gave him a different name that referred to a foreign god. Through all of these challenges, Daniel did not waver in what and in whom he believed.
Daniel’s choice not to defile himself with the king’s food or wine illustrates his determination to stay strong in his values and beliefs. The word defile indicates Daniel’s choice was an issue of religious faithfulness. His actions were not those of a man out to prove something. Scripture implies (Daniel 1:10–14) that he did not make a public protest or start a culture war by his refusal to eat the king’s food. His choice indicated his absolute loyalty to God. His attitude was that of determination and resolution. He learned about the culture, but he did not accept the flattery of the king or dependence on the king, as his acceptance of the king’s food would have communicated.
God blessed Daniel through what had to be a challenging transition. Daniel 1:9 reports that God allowed Daniel to gain favor and compassion from those who were responsible for him. You may not be able to change the standards of a venue to fall in line with God’s principles, but you can resolve to hold to those values you believe are pleasing to the Lord.
Sister, may we stand firm in every transition and proclaim, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12b).