Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Work

Daniel 1:16-21
(16) So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
(17) As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
(18) At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
(19) And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king.
(20) And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom.
(21) And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.

This is the end of the chapter that describes the situation for Daniel and his four friends. They were taken from their home in Judah and then trained to work for the king. God honored their decision to remain separate from the rest of the youths. They ended up better both physically and mentally than everyone else.

A note in my ESV Study Bible got me thinking about their situation. They were serving a pagan king among pagans. They remained faithful to God, but they still did their jobs. They weren't worried about the influences of the Babylonian culture, so they didn't hole themselves away in a bunker like the Amish. They still did their jobs and they even did them better than others.

This is a good reminder for me. My work environment is certainly pagan. It's not hostile to the faith, but it's certainly not open to it either. I have one coworker who goes to church each week, but he doesn't like to hear constant talk about religion. Two of my coworkers and I have some interesting discussions because of our varied faith backgrounds. We can get away with this, but it is hardly a Christian workplace and I constantly feel the tension that we need to tone it down a little bit. Many of my really good conversations with a friend who is very devout in his faith happen over instant messenger.

My point is that I see doing our work well as an example of:

Ecclesiastes 9:10
(10) Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Daniel and the three other exiles had work to do. They did it with all their might, but they didn't compromise their faith to do it. May we have a similar attitude as we go about our days.

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