Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

04/19/2017

Charles Cash

 

DILIGENCE

 

“You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.”

(Psalm 119:4)

 

  The definition of diligence, according to Webster, is to be “characterized by steady, earnest and energetic application and effort.” Diligence is the very opposite of indifference, carelessness and laziness.

 

  Many times we are prone to compartmentalize our lives much like a table of contents, and then put our religion over in one tightly contained compartment. We tend to separate the spiritual from the so-called secular. But, the fact of the matter is, all life is holy and covered by the precepts of God. The apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17) Martin Luther, observing a young maid mopping the floor, said, “She is doing the Lord’s work; God loves a clean floor.” God calls for diligence in all that we do in life. Solomon gives us an all-purpose scripture on the subject: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) My mother tried to encourage me by saying: “If a thing is worth doing at all, it is worth doing right.” Here are some thoughts on diligence in two areas of life that we, perhaps, do not stress enough:

 

  Diligence in business. “See a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings.” (Proverbs 22:29) It is so good to see people who are diligent in their business. Those are the kind of people we love to deal with. Again, Solomon wrote, “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” (Proverbs 27:23) Whatever business you are engaged in, know your business, keep up with it, take care of it and be diligent about what you are doing. This is the will of God, whatever the business! In fact, Paul said to the Thessalonians, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10) It is plain to see that God expects a man to work; and in so doing, he is doing the Lord’s work. In his previous letter Paul had already given these simple principles to live by: “Make it your ambition to live a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (I Thessalonians 4:11-12) Aspiration points us, but perspiration gets us there!

 

"The heights of great men—reached and kept,

Were not attained by sudden flight,

But they while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward through the night."

                                                                                               Longfellow

 

  Diligence in domestic affairs. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Timothy5:8) The NIV reads: “for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family.” There are so many men who, for one reason or another, do not provide adequately for their families. The context here shows an emphasis on the physical needs of the family such as food, clothing and shelter. Of course, sometimes needs are not met because of circumstances beyond one’s control. At other times it is because of alcohol, drugs, selfishness, laziness and indifference. For example, it is so sad to see the number of children who are neglected and underprivileged in this country, even in our own immediate area. The number of foster care children in Arkansas is at an all-time high, with over 500 in northwest Arkansas and over 700 in the valley. There are over 4,400 in the state.

 

  The woman of the house shares in the responsibility toward family. Solomon, in his beautiful and meaningful portrait of the Wife of Noble Character, wrote: “She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family… She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks… She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” (Proverbs 31:15,17,18)

 

  Yes, in both business and domestic affairs, O God, we recognize that “You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently.”

 

—CHARLES CASH