One of the better-known lines from the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins insists, "For Christ plays in ten thousand places..." He meant to encourage us to see the work of the Lord in the actions and circumstances of the people around us every day.
Good advice, that - and soundly Biblical.
While we may readily grant that the Lord is at work in our Christian friends, I doubt that we give much thought as to whether or not He is present in, around, upon, or over our unsaved friends.
He is, of course, and if we were more adept at seeing Him there, we might find that our ability to work our Personal Mission Fields in a way that creates real interest in the things of the Lord is greatly improved. Christ is indeed playing in 10,000 places, and some of them may be right near you.
That was Daniel's conclusion, anyway, when he went to help King Nebuchadnezzar in a most troubling situation. I'll just summarize the action of Daniel 2, and, as you review this outline, think about the people in your own Personal Mission Field:
1. Nebuchadnezzar was greatly disturbed by a dream. It could have been anything that was troubling him, but in his case, it was a dream.
2. He set about to get some relief from his troubles. He leaned on everyone he thought might help him, but to no avail, making him even more upset.
3. Daniel offered to help - having previously made himself available to Nebuchadnezzar as a servant and a man of excellence.
4. Daniel saw in Nebuchadnezzar's dream evidence of God at work in and upon him, and he told him so (vv. 29, 30). This was undoubtedly the first time anyone had ever suggested to Nebuchadnezzar that the Biblical God had any interest in or business with him.
5. Daniel offered an interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's troubles, which he had been able to discern through earnest prayer (Jer. 33.3; Prov. 25.2; Dan. 2.17-23).
6. Daniel used Nebuchadnezzar's troubling experience to point to a larger work that God was doing in the world, a work that would "trouble" not just Nebuchadnezzar, but every human kingdom, present and future.
7. Daniel allowed Nebuchadnezzar's response without feeling like he had to pounce on that and keep up the pressure until he achieved a full-blown confession of faith. He simply heard and affirmed an admission from the king which he had never made before. That would be the beginning of a journey to faith on Nebuchadnezzar's part (cf. Dan. 4).
Christ is playing in the lives of people all around us. Are we listening? Observing? Able to see the hand of the Lord as He troubles or blesses or surprises or confuses or otherwises strives with them by His Spirit (Gen. 6.3)?
Let's make this the year we really work at getting to know people, at paying attention to them and being sensitive to what's going on in their lives, at praying earnestly for God to help us love them and for opportunities to talk with them about Him. Christ is playing in an unsuspecting friend right near you.
Why not raise the curtain on His little drama, and see where the Lord might take it?
Related texts: Psalm 19.1-4; Daniel 2; Romans 1.18-20
A conversation starter: "Have you ever wondered whether or not God might be trying to have a word with you?"