Prior to full-time vocational ministry, I worked in the banking world. Most of the men and women for whom I worked did not share my faith. And, admittedly, this presented some challenging moments for me.
Recently, I read through the book of Daniel. As I read this text, I began to notice the working relationship between Daniel and the kings under which he served. Initially, none believed in his God. How did he work under their authority? And what lessons can we learn?
For those who find themselves working for a boss who doesn’t share your faith (which is probably most), here are four lessons we can learn from Daniel:
- Work hard. Because with every breath you have and in everything you do, you are first and foremost doing it for our God. As you read through the book of Daniel, never do you get the sense that he shirked responsibility, exhibited any form of social loafing, or laziness. The fact that Daniel was consistently promoted attests to this. The Bible says that his coworkers, who hated him, “could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him” (Daniel 6:4).
- Submit to their authority, unless it compromises your faith. Daniel was a man under authority. He understood that God had allowed the rulers of his day to obtain their positions (Daniel 2:21). From what we can see, the only time Daniel did not follow the directions of a ruler was when those directions violated the directions of The Ruler.
- Seize opportunities to tell your boss about God’s love for him or her. Daniel consistently leveraged his success and his position to tell his authorities about his God. It is amazing what doors are opened because of consistently honest, servant-minded, hard, God-centered work.
- Remain faithful to God, even if it causes damage to your career. Holding on to your faith may cause you to miss a promotion or, at worst, cost you your job. For Daniel, the stakes were much higher. His life was on the line. But as Daniel shows us, God is worth it all (Daniel 6:10). We are to work hard. We are to obey our authorities. However, if directives in our jobs ever run contrary to God’s directives, we are to stand firm and accept the consequences that follow.
Some may view working for a boss who doesn’t share your faith as a hardship. I see it as an opportunity. There may be challenges, but it is possible you will spend more time around your boss than anyone else, outside of your family. You may not get a better opportunity to consistently showcase God’s love to another person.
God used Daniel to change the minds of kings about his God. How will God use you at your workplace?
What about you? What are some challenges you have faced in the workplace? And how did you overcome them? Please place your comments in the section below.