Daniel 6:1-28 (Part 1) – Like The Hillbilly In Overalls When Everyone Else is In Tuxedos: Learning To Seek Approval in the Right Place

Posted: June 10, 2016 in Book of Daniel

Daniel 6:1-28 (Part 1)

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

What kind of employee are you? Do you do the bare minimum to get by? Do you see your job as a necessary evil in your life? Do you get half-effort because you think that you deserve better than what you are getting? What kind of volunteer are you at church? Do you volunteer because it’s a checklist thing to do? When you have a job to do for the church to give it the same level of commitment that you do for job that pays you money?

 

I think that when they write my tombstone, one thing that they will be able to say about me is that no matter what job I had in my life that I threw myself into it and gave it my all. Now, my daughters will tell you that my tombstone should read, “Well…I thought it was funny!” because that is my famous line that follows all of my sophomoric attempts at humor and there are a lot of those, attempts at humor, I mean. But one thing that you can say about me that I have full confidence in is that in my life’s career which has been mainly as an internal auditor and as a financial executive that I will do whatever it takes to get the job done. My wife will tell you that there are many weeks that I will put in 60 hours or more when I have deadlines to meet and lots of work to do in a short period of time. For me, this pattern was set early on as I started my career and spent much of it as an internal auditor. When you are an internal auditor for a large company, you are often sent around the country and around the world to perform financial and operational audits of your company’s business units in the various locations. In those jobs, you have an audit to do in a specified time frame. The work that has to be done often, if you just worked a normal 8 hour day, would take you about 3 ½ to 4 weeks to complete. So, you see, the quandary. You HAVE to work 12-16 hour days to get the job done. That set the standard for my work behavior early on. There were auditors not willing to do the time and their work showed it. They usually did not last. For me, it established a behavior in me to do whatever it took and ever how long it took to get the job done, no matter what job I had.

 

I would like to tell you that throughout my auditing/accounting career that it was because I was giving glory to God by being a hard worker and seeking perfection in everything that I do. However, I think that for much of my career it was all about seeking approval. As I have written here many times and several times here recently when I have had to write my spiritual biography one thing that has become abundantly clear. I have been an approval junkie throughout most of my life, both personally and professionally. There is this five year boy inside of me that loves being patted on the head. Many of the mistakes I have made in my life are as the result of seeking approval from others rather than from God. In my professional career, I always felt less than those whom were my equals on the organization chart and certainly less than those who are my superiors. In my finance career, I always have felt like there was some secret class that I missed that made things come naturally to others in finance or auditing. I have often felt the hillbilly redneck at the gala ball in my career. I have always felt as though I had to work twice as hard as those around me just to keep up with what I perceive as their natural talent. I always feel like that I am the guy who has to bust his butt to pass a class where everyone around me hardly has to study at all because it comes natural to them. As a result, I have always tried to make sure that there were no flaws in any work that I do. Because if there are flaws, I would be exposed for the “less than” that I think of myself. To gain approval and not let people see the idiot that I really am, I work doubly hard to make sure that they do not see behind the curtain. I want them to see the great and powerful Oz and not the short little man at the controls behind the curtain.

 

Many non-believers think about this salvation thing that as soon as you accept Christ into your life, you life gets magically better. This is not the case. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes abide in your soul. And the work begins. It is the process theologians call sanctification that begins. By the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we are made more like Christ on a daily basis. It is a lifelong process. Some areas of our life, it is easy for the Holy Spirit to change us but there are others that it is a holy and mighty struggle for the rest of our lives. For me, it is the giving up of seeking approval of others. It is pride in reverse. The Holy Spirit works in me daily to teach me to seek the approval of the Father in heaven and not the approval of others.

 

It is true that I still work hard. My wife can tell you that is true. I still give my job everything that I have and more. I bust my butt each and every day, week, and month. However, I am not as fearful now as I once was as being found to be “less than”. I have more peace than I used to. Sure, I still hate it when I make a mistake at work. Sure, I don’t want to make mistakes. Sure, there are still times that at work I feel like the hillbilly redneck that shows up at the gala ball in his overalls while everyone else is in tuxedos. However, there is an overall peace now that used to not be there. I know that I have value in my Father in heaven more so than at any point in my life. I am able to admit when I do not know something now. I am able to willingly own up to my mistakes when I make them now. I still seek perfection now in my job, don’t get me wrong. I have not laid down and died and become an anything is acceptable kind of guy at work. I still work hard. I still put in a lot of hours. But I do it for a different reason now. Through the Holy Spirit’s action in my soul, I want my work to be a reflection of who I am – a Christ follower. I want to be seen as a reliable. I want to be seen as trustworthy. I want to be seen as that go-to guy when the chips are down. I want to be seen as a man of integrity. I want to be seen as those things because I am a Christ follower. I want when people see me work and see the results of my work to see and say, “Mark is a Christ follower and these Christ followers are just such good people to have on your team.” I want them to see Christ. I want to give my job my all now not to prevent people from seeing the scared little kid that I am on the inside but rather to allow them to see what a Christ follower brings to the table at his job.

 

It is that concept of giving glory to God through how you do your job, no matter what that job is, no matter where that job is at is what I connected to in the first half of this somewhat long passage in Daniel 6:1-28. Let’s read it together:

 

6 [a]It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

 

6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

 

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

 

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

 

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

 

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

 

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

 

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

 

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

 

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

 

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

 

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

 

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

 

“May you prosper greatly!

 

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

 

“For he is the living God

    and he endures forever;

his kingdom will not be destroyed,

    his dominion will never end.

27

He rescues and he saves;

    he performs signs and wonders

    in the heavens and on the earth.

He has rescued Daniel

    from the power of the lions.”

 

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus[b] the Persian.

 

 

At this time, Daniel was most likely in his late 70’s/early 80’s and was one of Darius the Mede’s top 3 administrators. Daniel was working with those who did not believe in God, but through his faith in God, he was more efficient and more excellent at administering the affairs of government and was simply more capable than the other administrators. This attracted the attention of the pagan king and earned Daniel great respect. One of the best ways we have to influence non-believers is to be a good employee. If we work diligently, with passion for excellence, with a respect for what we do and who we do it for, and we work responsibility efficiently and wisely, we will speak loudly for Jesus Christ. How well do you represent Jesus Christ at your workplace? Do you give half effort or do you give it everything you have regardless of whether you think you deserve a promotion or a better job? Do people perceive you as a person of integrity or a person of situational ethics? If we are “little Christs” (the literal translation of the Greek word that in English becomes the word, Christian), what kind of Christ are presenting at your workplace. As Christians we cannot segment our life into boxes. We represent Christ all the time, even at work.

 

What kind of an employee are you? What kind of volunteer are you? What kind of husband are you? What kind of wife are you? What kind of child are you? What kind of dad are you? What kind of mother are you?

 

Do you seek to reflect Christ in everything you do?

 

Amen and Amen.

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