January 27, 2010
The First English Samurai
READ: Neh. 1:11–2:5
For I was the king’s cupbearer. —Nehemiah 1:11
William Adams (1564–1620) is believed to be the first Englishman to reach Japan. Taking a liking to Adams, the ruling Japanese shogun made him his interpreter and personal advisor concerning the Western powers. Eventually, Adams was presented with two swords with rank of a Samurai. This showed just how much the Japanese revered Adams. Because William Adams served his foreign king well, he was also rewarded with greater opportunity for influence.
Centuries earlier, another man in a foreign country also had great influence over his king. Nehemiah was a cupbearer to Persian King Artaxerxes (Neh. 1:11). In the royal court, the cupbearer would test the wine before it was given to the king to protect him from poisoning. But this position also meant he had the king’s ear as a trusted advisor. Nehemiah’s integrity, administrative gifts, and wisdom made him a confidant to his ruler, which paved the way for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.
Like Nehemiah, each of us has been given a unique sphere of influence. Raising children, church or community work, and employment all provide a platform where we can have a beneficial effect on others. Has the Lord placed someone in your life upon whom you can have an influence? — Dennis Fisher
When we live with integrity,
We please our God above
And influence society
With truthfulness and love. —Sper
Even a little example can be a big influence for Christ.