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FIREFLIES, or lightning bugs as they are sometimes called, are unique creatures. They have an amazing way of getting your attention. As a child, I was tempted to take one of them apart to find out the source of power of these winged luminous bugs.
The scientists did this task for me in a more humane manner and discovered that the firefly has light organs under its abdomen. The light shines when the oxygen the insect takes in mixes with a substance called luciferin and generates brightness without heat.
What fascinated me as a boy was the amazing way the light of the firefly stood out during the night, especially when it was pitch dark. The firefly’s light reminded me of what is expected of the Christian in this dark world.
Last week I started to look at the importance of the Christian’s spiritual light standing out brightly in the midst of the dense depraved darkness that this world system perpetually produces.
By Christian I am not speaking first about a churchgoer, but an individual whose ethical and spiritual lifestyle reflects that of its leader, Jesus Christ. Today the spotlight is on the Christian’s light shining within the workplace. I am introducing an excellent example of a civil servant whose example is worthy of emulation.
In following the life of this man who rose to the top of the civil service in his country, it was evident that initially working within the public sector was not his first love. Nevertheless, he set his mind to give it his best shot. Academically, his diligence and dedication was obvious during his three years of specialised training in foreign languages. He graduated from that prestigious institution of learning with distinction.
There was something else about the life of this model citizen that caught my attention and motivated me early in life to be at my best in whatever profession I decided to pursue.
It was the fact that spiritually, he made a conscious decision to commit his life to the God of Christianity and attributed all his successes to having made such a choice from an early age.
Entering the civil service to serve his country with honour did not change his spiritual focus. He allowed his godly principles to shine brightly like the North Star within that public institution and never compromised his principles throughout his long and distinguished career.
He served faithfully and fearlessly under and gained the respect of four powerful political leaders.
His consistency and conscientiousness under such leaders earned him the position of top civil servant and chief advisor to these political strongmen. With just over 120 employees under his management, it was not very long before jealousy raised its ugly head. Some of these employees tried by whatever means possible to remove this godly man from office. The plot backfired and all his conspirators were fired and this loyal civil servant was awarded yet another promotion.
I found it refreshing to locate in The Bible such an outstanding civil servant whose example is relevant for today. His name was Daniel, whose godly luminous lifestyle shone radiantly within his workplace. This account is found in the book attributed to him in chapters 1-6.
I observed three potent principles that governed this righteous man’s behaviour, which every Christian within the public service should adopt.
First, the Christian must develop and habitually maintain an intimate relationship with God. In Daniel’s case he knew that it was impossible to have an intimate relationship with God without people around him recognising the bright light that intimacy emits.
His colleagues saw it, his boss observed it and God confirmed it. For this righteous man working within his workplace, there was no such a thing as a private Christian. As God’s representative, let your intimacy with Him reflect itself within your working environment.
The second thing to note about this godly civil servant was his beaming light of integrity, which shone among his work colleagues. He was consistent in his walk with God and maintained a high standard of honesty, reliability and diligence, so much so that when his accusers checked his work with the hope of finding flaws, his impeccable records shocked them. As representatives of Christ within the public sector, your deportment must leave no doubt in the minds of those with whom you work. It must become evident that you are not just a churchgoer but first a Christian who attends church.
You therefore should not habitually turn up for work late and leave early, not have a lunch “hour” that is more than 60 minutes, call in sick when you are not, work carelessly, disrespect your employer or those over you. Let your light of integrity shine so that your God and country can be well pleased with your high level of production.
The third bright spark that shot forth from the life of Daniel and positively influenced those around him was his humility. As a representative of God in the workplace, he never displayed an attitude that he was better than anyone else.
Although his academic accolades were known and he had distinguished himself as an excellent leader within the civil service and an outstanding statesman, he never sent any signal that he was superior to anyone.
He knew that God looks at the proud afar off but gives favour to the humble. As a result he demonstrated a spirit of humility even when up against strong opposition. As a servant and a true ambassador of Christ, let your light of humility radiate from your personality within the walls of your workplace.
As a Christian within the public sector, your responsibility is not to first please any political leader or even yourself, but to make the Christ you claim to represent very proud.
Therefore, as a Christian civil servant, let it never be said by your critics that your Christian light is not shining outstandingly within your workplace. God is depending on you to be a true representative of His within the public service. Don’t disappoint Him. Next time the private sector Christian will be examined.
• Rev Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email email@example.com