How to be preferred from among the lot – standing out, and more insights from a Sunday sermon
Some of the best learnings are still made in the church hall, from sermons that are intended to minister to your soul than your head. Yet on this Sunday morning, I learnt more about productivity, work and industry, than I had in any seminar or workshop anywhere else.
Do not index
Do not index
No matter what you do, you can position yourself to be preferred
Daniel is a peculiar character in the Bible: A young Hebrew boy selected among the few chosen by the King Nebuchadnezzar following the captivity of the Jews, to wait in his courts. But even as a captive in a foreign land, Daniel (later named Belteshazzar by the Babylonians) distinguished himself again, and again, in excellence and service throughout the reigns of three Babylonians dynasties (Nebuchadnezzar, Darius and Belshazzar). His story is a remarkable tale of huge takeaways and gleanings, worthy of deep study. In fact, to discard the phenomenon of his existence is to be ignorant of what power lies in discipline, excellence and a contrite personality.
Explore with me as I unveil to you, as taught in Sunday service, how Daniel distinguished himself into a place of preference:
1. He had an “Excellent Spirit”
The Bible leaves us no room for debate. It says Daniel had an “excellent spirit”.
It’s most difficult to appreciate what the depth of this communicates; excellent? spirit? – not our everyday English, is it? But before we look at that, let’s define what it means to be preferred.
To be preferred means:
to be liked more than others
to be distinguished,
or to distinguish yourself by excelling, enduring and lasting more than average.
to be a choice selection
Another person who was exceeding preferred was Esther;the young Jewish girl, again captive of Babylon. Who would later go on to become Queen following her selection by the ‘Keeper of the girls’ during the contest for a new Queen.
The narration accounts that she was quite pleasing to the keeper following how she “carried” herself. The story portrays her as not being particularly interested in the manner of dealings for the position. She sought rather to serve and assist the Keeper, thus distinguishing herself.
Similarly, Daniel was preferred because he had a singularly goal; to please His God. He was different from his peers, who were more interested to be seen and noticed. Daniel was not of this calibre.
Fun Fact: The word “prefer(red)” was used 8 times in the Bible.
What does it mean to have an Excellent Spirit?
An Excellent spirit, is an attitude that refreshes others. Simple. A kind, endearing attitude that’s focused on others first, and self second. An Excellent attitude. Paul pines this commandments so, “be kindly affectionate to one another..”
Here’s a quick self check for measuring your excellence:
Are you kindly affectioned?
Are you brash?
Are you kind?
Are you self-centred?
What is your attitude towards others?
Towards your colleagues?
Do you seek to please your boss?
Do you have an attitude of service and love?
One notable philosopher quipped that “your attitude determines your altitude” – He couldn’t have been more right.
An old couple (together for 80+ years) was asked one day by a journalist, “what is the secret to your many years together in a nation like America?” The duo answered almost simultaneously, “We are kind to each other. We speak kind words to each other always”
If you should discover that you’re not particularly a pleasant personality and possibly answered negative to the earlier listed questions, then this sermon is for you. To be preferred, will mean that your personality and attitude should change.
See, when it’s time for anyone to be chosen and selected for anything, you can be sure it would be the “excellent personality”. The Bible recounts how that King David had multiple occasions to bring an end to the life of King Saul, yet took no action against the erstwhile King, even when the King adamantly sought his life.
How to spot an Excellent Spirit?
An excellent attitude seeks not revenge, nor seek their own interest at the detriment of others. Does your attitude enrich the soul of others?
An excellent person does nothing by partiality, does not criticise, nor lookout to destroy others.
An excellent spirit bears others up. An excellent spirit does not neglect others, nor give up on others.
A day will come when someone is to be preferred for a specific role, or task, will you be the one? If your answer is No, then you know what action to take.
Do a personal review, a self-reflection, and make an adjustment. Look beyond yourself.
2. How to be Preferred at work
Once you have acknowledge that you’re not being preferred at work, this is the opportunity to give your attitude a change.
Are you being by passed for promotion?
Are you not being selected for trips?
Are your contributions being overlooked?
If this is you? Then this truth may make all the difference for you: Make others feel special! And do it with joy and a big smile. Simple.
Go all-out to discover what the headaches and pain-points of your immediate boss(es) are, and take actions to address them. Lift repetitive work burden off them, by being the reason they notice that something they didn’t like is suddenly gone.
Talk, and engage with others and seek a short feedback from them. What would they like to see you do better. Have them be open and blunt. They’ll open up like a hot knife through butter. Remember to keep a healthy attitude as you do this.
Be humble. With humility comes preference. Remember the words of the master, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant”
An attitude change is the only way to be preferred. Because truly, anyone can be preferred.
“Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. - Daniel 6:3”
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