It is easy to drag our feet and fall into neglect in different areas of our lives. But negligence attracts negligence. So it pays to roll up our sleeves, listen to the way of the Holy Spirit, and act with excellence.
His reputation was exceptional: he was without fault. And no, we are not talking about Jesus here. “As a result, the other officers and the chief administrators tried to find some problem with Daniel’s work for the kingdom. But they couldn’t find any problem or corruption at all because Daniel was trustworthy. He wasn’t guilty of any negligence or corruption” (Daniel 6:4 CEB). He did his job without negligence. He was the smartest man in the kingdom. He could have found an effective plan to sabotage the Babylonians or save the Jews in exile. But no, Daniel served an oppressive king with excellence. We have so much to learn from his attitude.
We live in a world where consumers are always trying to get as much as possible for as little money as possible. Employees want lots of benefits and work as little as possible. The subscriptions that are the most popular are the ones that provide us with the maximum benefit with the least commitment. All pyramid schemes promise quick profits with little effort. We are no longer used to investing effort to get a result. Unfortunately, this bogs us down in a position of neglect that sometimes spills over into multiple areas of our lives. We are negligent in our work, and we blame our employers. We are negligent in our church service and blame the inertia of other members. We are negligent in our finances and blame the global economy. We neglect to with our health, and we pray to God for healing. And we are also negligent in our relationships and blame our partners.
Daniel was not superhuman, but his contemporaries could find no fault with him; there was no negligence in any area of his life. We don’t have to be superhuman to be great at what we do. We just have to do like Daniel: multiply our times of prayer. We cannot be perfect in all things, but we can perform at our best by consulting God every step of the way. Thus, we receive instruction from God to be effective, and what is beyond our power we put into God’s hands to live in peace. Drawing near to God allows us to have His wisdom while returning to Him the position of authority over our lives. God thus helps us to have a good balance; to be excellent without falling into perfectionism (Luke 16:10). Daniel not only prayed, but he also surrounded himself with other Jews who shared the same faith as him. Our Christian surroundings also play an essential role in keeping us on the right path.
Carelessness attracts carelessness. If we don’t take good care of our apartment as a tenant, we can’t expect good service from our landlord. If we work with negligence and disregard for our company, we cannot expect promotions. The same goes for our relationships. If we neglect to take care of ourselves, we cannot expect a partner who lives with excellence to notice us. Women are attracted to men who make an effort to take care of themselves. And vice versa. That demonstrates that if a person can take care of themselves, they can take care of their partner.
Renouncing negligence does not mean demanding perfection either. We can overcome neglect while recognizing our weaknesses and limitations. Excellence and humility go very well together. So ask the Holy Spirit today to help you to be like Daniel, that is, to be someone who has a reputation for not being careless in everything he does.