The Lessons of Babylon
In the Bible, Daniel 1 tells the story of the Israelites: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (popularly known as "the Hebrew Boys"). Given internships in the kingdom of Babylon, these young men were fit, healthy, handsome, and quick studies. They were the best of what Israel had to offer. But as they began to serve in Babylon, they were met with a serious conflict: The king had assigned them a diet that did not align with their Hebrew beliefs.
As foreigners, they felt confident they could do the job at hand, yet they had no idea if Babylon’s rules could be adapted to fit their faith. Should they compromise what they believed in to fit into their new careers or stand firm on their convictions and risk not only conflict but potential death?
They decided to make a very savvy move. Rather than recuse themselves from doing the job, they asked if they could do it differently. Daniel and the Hebrew Boys asked their supervisor if they could eat their own diet (consisting of vegetables and water). However, the supervisor worried that if he granted their request, he would lose his job, and refused. Undeterred, they then asked the guard who managed them daily. They said, "If you give us a chance to eat differently for ten days, we will prove that we can fulfill the requirements of our job. If we can’t, we will suffer the consequences." The guard agreed.
Ten days later, the Hebrew Boys were better nourished and healthier than any of the other interns, so the guard allowed them to continue on with their diet. Ultimately, when it was time for them to be brought before the king, they were found to be ten times healthier and better at their jobs than all their peers.
The takeaway is simple yet profound: They learned in Babylon how to be successful in a secular environment by applying their spirituality in a way that enhanced their success. The Hebrew Boys learned how to succeed while at work in Babylon, not in the synagogue. Some of the lessons they learned:
The story of the Hebrew Boys as told throughout the book of Daniel inspired me. It helped me find the courage to pursue a career in Hollywood while adhering to my Christian beliefs. Like the Hebrew Boys, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Hollywood or a completely different profession—these principles will transform your life by empowering you with truth, clarity, and strategy you can use to leap forward into the fullness of your calling.