How many of you have been in your present job/position for five years or less? Five to 10 years? More than 10 years? How many of your have had 5 or more different positions in your working life?
The US Dept. of Labor conducted a study a few years ago where they found that college graduates will have had 4-5 jobs by the age of 34. Assuming a person graduates at 22, that is 12 years—they stayed an average of 3 years or less at each job.
Not solely, but to a large degree, satisfaction in your job is a matter of perspective—believing you are called by God to be where you are and that it is the best for you. But it can be challenging to have God’s kingdom perspective when your job is difficult, boring or you are feeling burned out.
It is easy for me to think about the kingdom of God on Sunday mornings in the midst of worship, preaching and fellowship. But what does the kingdom of God look like on Monday mornings at work? How do you live as a kingdom person in the context of your everyday secular world?
Daniel can give you help. The theme of the book of Daniel is: In spite of present appearances, God is in control. Daniel 1 illustrates how you as a kingdom person can live out the reality of that kingdom in your daily life situations.
Daniel 1 gives you five principles to carry into your work situation week after week. In this post we will look at principles one and two.
Principle #1: Recognize who is in control (1-2)
Notice that the narrator here rips away the curtain and informs us of the reality behind the appearances. He does this with a simple statement, “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.” As considerable as the forces of Nebuchadnezzar were, they were not the reason why Jerusalem fell or the people were taken into captivity. The Lord was not mysteriously absent but actively working to deliver his people over to their enemies in order to accomplish his purposes
This active Lord who accomplishes his purposes is the one you need as the foundation of your world. As you drag yourself out of bed on Monday morning; as you work toward deadlines and face frustrations; as other people or co-workers aggravate and irritate; the one sure truth is this: God is in control. Just as the defeat and captivity were the occasions the Lord was using to accomplish his purposes for Daniel and his friends, the circumstances at your place of work are the occasions the Lord is using to accomplish his purposes in your life.
Principle #2: Pursue Excellence (3-7, 17)
Daniel and his friends were seized from their homeland and taken into exile. They were chosen because they were from the nobility of and were being trained to serve in the palace, to be leaders of the Babylonian propaganda machine.
Their training program consisted of learning the literature and language of the Babylonians—secular/cultural training. They not only learned it but they were outstanding in that learning (see verse 17).
The kingdom of God is present on Monday mornings because on Monday mornings your work is ultimately for the Lord and not for men. Therefore it needs to be done excellently. Remind yourself of it daily. Preach it to yourself relentlessly until it becomes part of your daily perspective.