Diligence

Diligence doesn’t get the headlines. There will be no news crews camping in your front yard, no reporters pouncing on your every move. However, what diligence gets you is more important than celebrity; it is real success.

The Invisible Factor
The professional athlete and the professional musician seem to live in worlds widely separated by all the visible factors we may call to witness. Yet, there is an invisible factor behind the great catch at the goal line or the great throw from the superstar quarterback, and the great, difficult, nearly impossible passage flawlessly played by the French Horn player or the violinist sitting properly tuxedoed in the symphony orchestra. That invisible factor is diligence. Those flashes of public glory are made possible by hours and hours of diligent practice.

Nothing important happens without diligence; someone has to stick to the job when it would be easier to quit. Diligence demands consistent adherence to the fundamentals of the task, the craft, the art. To gain true excellence the fundamentals must be drilled and drilled until they become automatic, functioning without conscious thought. For the third baseman when the batter shoots a hot one his way, there is no time to think. Muscle memory takes over when the running back sees an opening in the line of scrimmage. Years of diligent practice, including several hours every day, are the source of the eloquence and beauty of a musical phrase that lasts only a few seconds.

Life demands diligence:

  • In the reading and processing of the Word of God,
  • In daily discipline of prayer,
  • In the sacrifice of praise that springs, not from our fleeting feelings, but from the unchanging but ever increasing worthiness of the Lord Jesus,
  • In the life-choices each day presents where we can follow the right path or turn away, and,
  • In the craft of listening to the voice of the Spirit each day, as He points out those He has placed in our path who need a word or touch from us.

A Gift from God
Diligence is not a matter of personality or natural giftings. It is a gift from God. After all, we are made in His image and likeness, Imago Dei, as the ancients called it. He is certainly diligent in his care for us. Because we are an earthly vessel filled with the treasure of His Holy Spirit, we can do well without becoming weary. We can be faithful in the few things He gives us here and someday rule with Him over many things in His Kingdom to come.

Still, diligence is a daily choice. In the words of King David to Solomon his son, we must “Do the Work.”

Scriptures:
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
… without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
Hebrews 6:9-12
… God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your diligence in loving me. When I have been selfish, You were still giving. When I was weak You came to me in gentle strength. When I have been wrong, You have shown me my error as You pointed me to the right way. When I have withheld from You my praise and gratitude and adoration through inattention and prayerlessness, You never abandoned me. Grant to me this day the Gift of Diligence that I may be more like You. You have given me work to do today, help me be strong and do the work. All for You, Lord Jesus, All for You! Amen.

Song:
We’ll Work Till Jesus Comes

Words: Elizabeth Mills; Music: William Miller

1. O land of rest, for thee I sigh! When will the moment come
When I shall lay my armor by and dwell in peace at home?

Refrain:
We’ll work till Jesus comes, We’ll work till Jesus comes,
We’ll work till Jesus comes, and we’ll be gathered home.

2. To Jesus Christ I fled for rest, He bade me cease to roam,
And lean for succor on His breast till He conducts me home.

Refrain

3. I sought at once my Savior’s side, no more my steps to roam,
With Him I’ll brave death’s chilling tide, and reach my heavenly home.

Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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