Friday, May 4, 2007

People of Faith, Success on the Job?

Can a person of faith succeed on the job? The question is addressed anecdotally in the Book of Daniel.

Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were among a group of people who were exiles. They were carted off to live in Babylon, even though Judah was their home.

While in Babylon, they were "selected" for the fast track for young professionals. They showed "aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace." (1:4)

Who wouldn't want employees like that to oversee the business?

Daniel, in particular, was promoted early and often. He was brought into the king to help with a difficult situation in chapter 2. Later, he came to the attention of the queen (and subsequently, the king) in chapter 5. And when there was a hostile takeover, he was promoted to become 1 of only 3 administrators with the new leadership in chapter 6.

Daniel became the object of corporate jealousy in chapter 6 (where "Daniel and the Lions' Den" takes place). His rivals wanted to get Daniel into trouble, set him up, maybe even frame him for some wrongdoing. But they could find "no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." (6:4)

If YOU were the king, the leader, the owner of a company...wouldn't YOU want to have people like Daniel working for YOU?

Apparently God agrees, because Daniel is EXACTLY the type of person God blesses.
Today as you and I fulfill our responsibilities, to the job, the church, the family, the community, or the school, may WE display the level of skill, competence, and dependability that Daniel did.

Grace & peace

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The center of pr-I-de

C.S. Lewis refers to IT as the big sin; the one out of which every other sin flows.

IT is easy to overlook in ourselves.

IT is impossible NOT to see in others.

IT may reside in an extrovert or a introvert.

IT may attack the leader or IT may become attached to followers.

Sinners and saints are equally susceptible to IT.

IT is as home in the church as it is in the world.

IT caused a king to lose his mind and his kingdom.

When IT was squashed, his kingdom, his mind, and his position were restored.

IT is pride.

Daniel had been instructed by God to warn King Nebuchadnezzar (pronounced something like "neb YOO kuh NEZ zer") that IT would cause his loss of power and sanity.

Twelve months after the warning, the King was walking around admiring all he had done and all he had built. "That very hour...he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen..." (Read chapter 4 verses 19-36 to get the whole story.)

For seven "times" or years he lived that way until he knew "that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men" not King Neb.

Once his sanity returned and, apparently, accompanied by humility, the King who was once warned, now warns us. "I praise and extol and honor the King of heaven...(who is able to put down) those who walk in pride." (Daniel 4:36)

What causes you to house an unhealthy pride? Your accomplishments? Talents? Looks? Money? Job? What people say about you?

Or how 'bout the way you don't have those things like other people? The fact that you don't have to worry about having too much praise, honor, or attention? We can take pride in that too.

What about taking pride in your spirituality? Your religion?

Be careful. God is able to put down those who walk in pride. ANY pride. Pride over ANYTHING other than Him.

Instead, let us walk as Daniel walked: ready to help wherever God puts us, but always remembering the ability, the gifts, and the praise that follows belong to Him.

Grace & peace