Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Labor Among Lions

Labor Among Lions
Text: Daniel 6:1-24;

Success isn't safe. The better you do your job, the more your peers resent you. The bigger the promotion, the angrier the people who don't get promoted. If you’re talented, hard-working, and honest, these qualities can bring success, but they can also make people envy you and want to stab you in the back.

It starts at an early age. Brothers and sisters compete with each other. If parents praise one child for doing something, the others feel envious. They want to make themselves look better than their sibling, and they often go about it not by trying to improve themselves but by trying to make their sibling look bad. Brothers and sisters pick on each other and tattle on each other and look for ways to get each other in trouble. Sibling rivalry is hard on kids—and it's no picnic for parents, either!

When children go off to school, the picture doesn't change much. If kids behave well and obey their teacher, do their fellow students admire them as models of virtue? No, they mock them as goody-goodies and teacher's pets. If students work hard and get good grades, do their classmates applaud them? No, they pick on them. Kids who don't want to work hard or don't have as much talent resent the high achievers, and they try to make life miserable for them. If they can't raise themselves up, the next best thing is to drag others down.

I wish I could say we outgrow this jealousy and cruelty as we get older, but all too often it gets worse. In offices, factories, and businesses of every kind, success isn't safe. If you work hard and are extremely productive, other people might look bad by comparison, and they don't like it. If you're honest and clean in all your dealings, you may have conflicts with those who prefer to cut corners. If you won't allow laziness or dishonesty in those who work under you, you can make fierce enemies. If you're in line to get a raise or a higher position, even some people you thought were friends may turn against you, especially if they want the position themselves. The greater your achievements the nastier the attacks. The very things that make you an outstanding worker can make you a target for disgruntled backstabbers. How do you deal with that? How do you aim for excellence in such circumstances? Life in the workplace can be hard, hurtful, and downright scary. Other people may resent you and try to bring you down. You might be safer in a den of lions than in a workplace of envious rivals. Just ask Daniel.

Prowling Predators

The Bible book of Daniel tells about one of history’s great heroes. Daniel sought excellence in everything he did, and he served God in everything he did. That made him prominent, but it also made him enemies. ....

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