Scripture Focus: Daniel 6:3-4
3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
Reflection: White (Clerical) Collar Crimes
By Erin Newton
White collar crimes are depicted as less serious, less offensive than other crimes. Media attention tends to focus on violent crimes. Those accused of insider trading or insurance fraud are shrugged off as foolish, ambitious people. But does that mean those sins are any less offensive?
Daniel was a distinguished worker. His capabilities, skills, and wisdom set him apart from his peers. The text does not comment on his godliness or his outward religious actions. We understand that his faith was a driving factor in how he conducted business. But for his immediate supervisor, the king of Babylon, it was his business practices that stood out. Even in an ancient setting, work ethics were important.
The church has been just as guilty in the area of financial crimes as in the area of sexual abuse. Churches have been devastated when those who claimed to be doing the work of God were embezzling funds from the pool of tithes. Businesses that promote their religious affiliation with Christianity have committed fraud. Clerical collars have been soiled by white collar crime.
Like Daniel’s, our faith in God should guide our business practices. Faith should shape how we report our taxes. Faith should enforce our truthfulness in filing insurance claims. Faith should keep our hands out of the coffers.
Paul commended Titus to act as Daniel did:
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8)
As Christians, we expect to be admired for our charity and love. We set up memorials for Christians who served the poor or died for their faith. But how many do you know who are distinguished because they practice godly ethics at work? How many do we esteem for their truthfulness with the IRS or with loan departments?
White collar crimes are seen as soft crimes. They are assumed to be non-violent. They also feel safe. But they are still crimes. They still violate the command in Romans 13 to obey governing bodies. They always break the heart of God.
Our world sees white collar crimes as less offensive. But Christians should not be creating a business ethos according to what the world permits. Be set apart in how you file taxes and count every penny.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not stray from your commandments. — Psalm 119.10
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
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