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?
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.