Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3 NIV)

Winter is challenging in several ways, one of them being the lack of sun. Life somehow becomes gloomy with inadequate sunlight. And when the end of winter brings in a rush of sunlight, life brightens up. From a spiritual perspective, brightness is equated to being wise- living a life of obedience to God. Holiness is light that breaks through the darkness of the world engulfed by sin. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Therefore living in the light and being a light in this world is living in step with God. Daniel reminds us that in the end, when the curtains are drawn for this world and as all things wind up, those who remained true to God will continue to shine like the brightness of the heavens.

Now being wise or holy is not very popular. It is neither convenient nor contemporary to be in obedience to God. A life of denial is tough and requires effort, much like swimming upstream against a river is much harder than swimming downstream. Yet Jesus says,

 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:23-25 NIV)

Daniel next talks about those who lead others to righteousness. This refers to the noble act of facilitating the salvation found in Christ. No profession is as noble, no job as satisfying and no investment as rewarding as the act of leading others to righteousness. God in His wisdom has mandated that salvation shall be granted by God’s revelation but only when His people take the effort to preach the gospel and spread the Word. This includes proclaiming Jesus as well as facilitating the spread of the gospel by various means. Among the various aspects of life that occupy us, does leading others to righteousness feature as a prominent agenda?

Imagine the beauty of a night sky where on a clear night, the stars dazzle like jewels. And for eternity, the host of heaven shall look upon God’s genuine ministers as they dazzle like stars in the night sky. No wonder countless men and women have laid all on the altar of the Cross and have made the task of leading others to righteousness the prime goal of their lives. In Jim Elliot’s famous words,

” He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”

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