In the Lion’s Den: Integrity

Not many people I know have thoroughly read the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament.

A bunch of people I know are at least vaguely familiar with the story of “Daniel and Lion’s Den” found there.  Here’s a very quick synopsis:

  • Daniel has been granted a great deal of responsibility by his boss.
  • Some of his co-workers aren’t very happy about that.
  • His co-workers decide to do something about it and set him up with some inner office intrigue about a company policy Daniel has violated.
  • His boss doesn’t want to look bad, so he throws Daniel in a lion’s den, literally.
  • God miraculously saves Daniel – a man of true integrity and faith.
  • Daniel’s co-workers….well, you can imagine what ends up happening to them.

O.K. – it’s not nearly poetic or dramatic as the Scripture – so I encourage you to read the full story yourself, found in Daniel, chapter 6.

Here’s the thing, though.

Integrity does not guarantee that you will never have serious trouble in this life.  On the contrary, it may cause you to have great difficulty.  But – living a life of faithful integrity – in the end – is always the way to go.  God, who sees the heart, will know and ultimately, you will be blessed – as will all those you touch – with your life of faithful integrity.

It isn’t easy.  That’s the point.  It is difficult and dangerous.

Still, in a world where so many sell out, so easily, it is the higher calling.

I am saddened to think about how so many find it so easy to cut corners – professionally, personally, spiritually.  I am encouraged, though, when Scripture reminds me that the holy and loving God whom I follow watches – always watches – and ultimately will reward my making the right choices.  I don’t always do it.  That’s when confession and grace come to my rescue.

Nevertheless, I try, and as I try I find that – even in the Lion’s Den – I am loved and protected.

I invite you to live a life of faithful integrity – every – single – day.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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