It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” Daniel 6:1-5 ESV
Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who frame injustice by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out. Psalm 94:16-23 ESV
George Bailey was a very good man. He was honest and he worked hard, and because of him Bedford Falls was a good place to live. He helped people live good lives and made sure that people who didn’t have much money were able to afford to buy houses. Everyone in town thought a lot of him, but George Bailey had an enemy. Mr. Potter wanted to control Bedford Falls himself and use its people to fill his own pockets with money, and George Bailey was in his way. George was so honest and good that Mr. Potter couldn’t find any way to get the better of him. But George had one weakness. He was a very kind man, and because of this he trusted his Uncle Billy with some money, even though Uncle Billy wasn’t always trustworthy. Mr. Potter was able to take advantage of this and steal this money, and this caused George a lot of trouble.
Daniel was like George Bailey. He worked hard and was honest, and he did his job so well that King Darius thought very highly of him. He made Daniel one of the three high officials in the land, and he was thinking about making Daniel the highest official of all. The other two officials and other rulers in the government were very jealous of Daniel. They wanted to get rid of him so that they would have more power for themselves, but they couldn’t find any problem or fault in Daniel. His work was perfect, and they couldn’t catch him making mistakes or being dishonest. They only way they could think of to get him in trouble was to use his worship of the true God of Israel. So the government officials started to hatch a plot to use this against him in some way.
When we do our work, we hope to be like Daniel, honest and hardworking and good at what we do. God can bless and help us in our vocation so that we can do well and serve others with our work. There is one person who was perfect all the time in every way, and that was Jesus. Jesus never sinned against his Heavenly Father or against other people, but he had enemies who were jealous of him and wanted to get rid of him. They made up lies about him and saw that he was put on a cross to die. Jesus let them to that to him because he knew that when he died on the cross he was paying for the sins of the whole world. We won’t always work perfectly with skill and love and kindness, but we can go to Jesus every day for forgiveness and help and strength to do our work for him, and let him love and help other people through us.
Dear Jesus, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Help us to love and serve others well. Amen.
Capra, Frank, dir. It’s a Wonderful Life RKO Radio Pictures, 1946. Film.