As Christians in the marketplace, we face a continual challenge of walking that fine line between pursuing our careers and seeking success and being a strong witness for Christ where we work. Integrating our work and our faith is not the easiest thing to do, is it? The choices are not always black and white; the decisions are not always clear. And while we may not have gone to a foreign country and culture as a missionary, there are times when it sure feels like we’re outsiders, foreigners in a culture that is opposed to Christian principles.

The story of Daniel offers us some very important principles for workplace Christians. Let me point out some of the issues that Daniel faced which are not that far from ones you may have encountered.

  • Daniel was forced into a job he never chose nor ever wanted.

Daniel’s story begins on a very bleak note. He was taken as a captive—a slave—to another country. He had no choice. But even when evil seemed to be in control, God was actually working out his purposes. And through it all, Daniel kept a positive outlook.

Do you ever feel that you’ve been placed in a position you never aspired to? Have you ever felt trapped in your job or your company? If you find yourself in that kind of predicament, it’s easy for your attitude to go south very quickly.

Even if you’re in a job of your choosing, no doubt there are days when you still feel trapped—when you have dreams of running away, catching the next flight out to a far-away place! But it is exactly in these times that the real depth of your faith shows through. Staying positive and joyful in a place where you may not want to be is a sign of a Spirit-controlled life, and it is a strong testimony for the Lord.

  • Daniel had God-given talents and skills, which he had honed. He was a good steward of his gifts and opportunities.

God had endowed Daniel with a very bright and quick mind, and Daniel had taken that gift and made the most of it, even in a hostile environment. Paul wrote to Timothy, “For this reason, I remind you to fan into a flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). Have you fanned into a flame the gifts and talents God has placed in you? It’s easy to just settle with getting by. But I’m often convicted that God expects me to take my gifts and make them better. You and I will be accountable for the stewardship of our talents and skills.