Dear Visionary Leader:
Why has God intended the church go out, scattered and permeate the community in the work place? It is one of the most extraordinary opportunities that we have to share the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I don’t have a better example of that than the man named Daniel.
If you don’t mind, I’d like for you to turn to the book of Daniel for a moment. Daniel was a man, just like you. He loved God and God took Daniel against his will. Daniel was carried captive into Babylon, and there in Babylon, Daniel was given a secular job. Daniel didn’t go to Babylon as a priest. He didn’t go to Babylon as a pastor. He didn’t go to Babylon as a music director or an educational director. He went to Babylon as a captive, forced to Babylon out of his own will, carried away captive, and there because of his extraordinary gifts, he found a place of government service.
Daniel was working for Darius. In the midst of this, somehow Darius, was misinformed about Daniel and Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. In Daniel 6:20, we read, “And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spoke and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou serve continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
This is a very interesting story because Daniel got his paycheck from Darius. He was a government official. He didn’t do this thing in a monastery; he had a very important job. Yet, the king said to him, “I know that you serve God continually.” It’s so important that we understand what Darius is saying to Daniel.
Now, you say, “I don’t even know that I’m in the will of God in my job. I mean that you say that God called you into the ministry. I don’t have any sense of call. I’ll tell you why I’m in my job pastor; it’s the only job I could get. If I could get a better one I would. I hate it, I don’t like it, I’m not paid well, and I’m not maximizing my gifts. The only reason that I’ll go to work tomorrow, and I’ll tell you very frankly, I won’t like where I’m going, but I’ve got to go. I’ve got to eat; I’ve got to feed my family.” Like that bumper sticker, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.”
Also, you may say, “I have no sense at all that I’m where God wants me.” If you find yourself there and there’s nothing you can do about it and there’s no other job available to you, then just take it that you’re there by the will of God.
In Jeremiah 29:4, we read, “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon.”
Who caused the Jews to be carried to Babylon? You say, “Well, the king of Babylon did.” God said, “No he didn’t. I let him do it, but I caused it.”
Have you ever thought that you may be right where you are because God put you there? You didn’t choose it any more than Daniel would have chosen to go to Babylon. Your call may not be the call, like the call to the ministry. Your call may be the call of captivity. Maybe where you’re living is Babylon right now.
You may say, “Very frankly preacher, there’s not much I can do about it. I mean, I’ve got to eat. I wish I could get out of here so I could serve God. I wish I could get in some monastery where I wouldn’t have to have all these sinners around me.”
However, this is not God’s plan. God brought Daniel to Babylon because God had a purpose for Daniel. It was God that brought Daniel to Babylon. The Bible makes it plain. God brought those Jews to Babylon, even though the king of Babylon was the servant of God.
We are not called to be an island of irrelevant piety, surrounded by an ocean of need. God’s plan for you is not to flee the world. God’s plan for us is to overcome the world.
I’m talking about Monday morning religion. I am explaining how to turn a rat race into a spiritual pilgrimage. If you work in Babylon, let me give you some Scripture. In John 17:15, we read, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. ” Jesu did not pray for our isolation. He prayed for our insulation.
Titus was complaining to Paul about the Cretans. He, “These Cretans are always slow bellies.” Slow bellies are indolent and sensual. The Apostle Paul says for this cause, left I left you in Crete. You don’t take a lighthouse and put it out in downtown Manhattan. You put it out on some barren, craggy, rocky shore, where it’s needed.
God put Daniel in Babylon. He didn’t have what we would call “a full-time Christian service job.” He was a bureaucrat. We have been saved out of this world and sent back into the world to witness to the world. This is our main business in the world until Jesus takes us out of the world. We are the light of the world.
Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15).
You’re the light of the world, not the light of the church, but the world. What is your job? Your job is your lamp stand, where you let your light shine. That’s what it is. It doesn’t matter that it’s a secular job.
In Philippians 2:15, the Apostle Paul says, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Where is your light to shine? In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in the midst of those obscene stories, in the midst of that pornography, in the midst of that blasphemy, in the midst of that materialism, in the midst of gossip, in the midst of a self-centered world. We are called to our light shine for the Lord Jesus Christ.
In 1 Peter 2:11, we read, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims…”-that’s what we are, this world is not our home-“…abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles…”
You have your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evil doers, and they will, the straighter you walk, the more they’ll speak against you. “They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12).
If we just keep on walking the straight and narrow, letting our light shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, where our job becomes a temple of devotion and our lamp stand for witness, we will have a deep impact in this world.
With this temple of devotion and light stand in our mind, I wish to recommend a few rules for success.
Do not brag when you go to work. For God’s sake, don’t be self-righteous. There’s nothing more obnoxious than a self-righteous person. Jesus said, “Let your light shine.” You don’t make it shine, but let it shine. It’s to glow; it’s not to glare.
If we go around talking and bragging all the time about how good and righteous you are, we will make them vomit. Nobody in my estimation has ever been won to Jesus through this method.
Second, do not nag when you go to work. In Colossians 4:5, we read, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Don’t brag and don’t nag. If you witness, don’t preach to people.
Third, do not lag when you go to work. On the job, we carry our part of the load. It’s a sin for a Christian to do less than his or her best. The best workers in the factory, the best workers in the office, and the best workers in the institution ought to be children of God.
When a supervisor or business owner goes down to the employment agency, he or she ought to say, “Hey, are my latest job descriptions. If you have any Christians over, please send them over. I don’t understand it, but they’re on time; they don’t gossip; they don’t steal; they don’t flirt around and they treat me with such respect that you would think they think I’m God. I don’t understand it, but they are the best people I have and I want more Christians.” We are not to lag.
When we are paid to do a job, we should do that job. We are not doing it for the boss; we are doing it for Jesus Christ.
Last, we are not to sag when we go to work. What I mean is we don’t compromise in our Christian life. Don’t be self-righteous, but be righteous, be clean, be pure.
If we want people to believe in the religion you have, when we go to work, we need to go there full of joy. The Apostle Paul writes, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
Jesus was a man of sorrows, but he was also a man of joy. He says, “My joy give I unto you.”
Most of those people that go to work on Monday, hate Mondays. Many of them are going to come to work Monday with a hangover. Some of them are just going to come from a fight with their spouse. Others have been fighting traffic or can’t find a parking place. Half of them hate their job.
When Christians walk in there and they should be the sunshine in the office. Eventually they are going to think, “What’s the matter with him or her? What makes him or her so joyful? When Christians do this week after week, they are going to conclude that they have a supernatural life and they will want it.
Most of the people are not interested in going to Heaven or Hell. They just want to know how to hack it on Monday. I mean, they just want to know how to get through this life. Most of them have all kinds of problems. Eventually, they are going to ask, “Where do you get that joy?
We read in 1 Peter 3:15,”But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
They are going to ask, “What makes you different from everyone else?” We will be able to answer, “If it weren’t for Jesus I’d hate this job too. But I believe that I’m here by the providence of God and the Lord is the one who gives me songs in the night. I’ve got some heartaches, I’ve got some tears, I’ve got some problems. But Jesus has helped me. And that same Jesus can help you.”
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Global Church Network
Cochair / Global Networking