Summary: We can learn two lessons from the life of Daniel on how to be godly even when working in a pagan place.
Being Godly In An Ungodly Workplace
Labor Day Sermon
(Key Thoughts taken from Melvin Newland’s Sermon, "Taking Christ With You")
Daniel 1 August 31, 2008Chester FBC, Chester, Illinois
Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker
A Labor day is said by some to be the most hypocritical of all our holidays.
1 We celebrate as working men/women of this country our rights & freedoms we have, blessing of having a job while some don’t.
a So we celebrate our ability to have and go to work by taking a holiday.
b We don’t like it that much, do we?
2 A recent survey suggested that 65% of American workers are unhappy with their jobs.
a They go to work simply to pay the bills. (I owe, I owe, so of to work I go.)
b We struggle to be content, happy as Christians when we go to work.
B Daniel 1.1-9
1 In 597 AD, Jerusalem was beseiged by Babylon and eleven years later the temple was destroyed.
a A century before, Isaiah prophesied the fall.
b Michah, Isaiah, his contemporary shared the burden.
c Habakuk couldn’t understand how could use godless Babylonions to correct his own people.
d Jeremiah lived to see these prophecies come true and his own come true as well.
2 God allowed Babylon to take his people captive.
a He would rather have his people in shameful captivity in a pagan land than living like pagans in the Holy Land & disgracing his name.
b Nebuchadnezzar would take the best, brightest and school them to come to work for him.
3 Daniel 1.1-9
a Daniel was forced to leave a place he loved, people who believed like him to go to work in an ungodly work environment, demonic & cult activity, . . . & you think your place of work is bad.
b There are some lessons here that we’re going to pick up.
C Let’s look at two lessons that can help us be godly in ungodly work places.
I Little things matter @ Work
A Many of the sons of Israel (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah among them) found themselves having to make some tough decisions of faith at their pagan job site.
1 For three years these young men (15-16 yrs) were to be taught Babylonian history, culture, medicine, astronomy, mathematics, & military strategy.
a The purpose behind the schooling was to make these Jews Babylonians, working in the king’s court.
aa I’ve heard it said that if you want to work in a godless place of employment, apply for a state job! (That was Daniel & the boys!)
bb These men were actually going through a lengthy orientation to go to work for the government.
cc Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah were like our Christian students going to study at a secular school and have to study material that contradicts what they believe.
dd The wise student/person/worker knows how to learn from the wisdom of other people without being overcome by it.
b Part of their orientation was to eat the food that the king had provided for them.
aa Choice cuts of meat, sweetest wine were given to the new recruits.
bb The meat had been offered to the pagan gods of Babylonian days (Aku, Bel, Nebo)
cc Many of the Hebrews got their feed on, but not the four in text.
2 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah politely refused the meat for many possible reasons.
a Offered to idols, not cleaned & killed according to their strict Jewish dietary laws, festival food, etc.
b I believe they refused the food because they didn’t want to be mistaken for someone who had been assimilated into Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom.
aa Don’t think for a minute this is the kingdom I belong to.
bb I’m here, studying hard, working hard .. . but my heart is already taken & belongs to the God of Israel.
c I’ll take your classes, let you know I know what you want me to know, but this is a line I will not cross. (There was a commitment that had been made)
B When it comes to the little things at work, it matters!
1 We don’t want to mistaken for being apart of any other kingdom than the kingdom of God.
a We do not have to sample/swallow everything the enemy puts in front of us.
b There will be times, situations that you simply will stick out like a sore thumb.
c You don’t have to be mad, get mad about it. . . just do those little things that need to be done.
2 There are 4 things that can help you avoid blowing the little things in big ways.
a Don’t Brag: Rom.12.3 (Pharisitical) Self-righteousness has never been anything than repulsive.
b Don’t Nag: Cuss/Drink, Thou Shalt Not Swear, Drunks go to Hell! (Love’em)