“There are many things that are urgent, some things which are important, and few things that are critical, but one thing is determinative,” he paused. Well, he had my attention.
Diligence, of all things! How mundane, how tedious. Nothing glamorous or exciting. Memories of practicing the organ came to mind– endless scales and exercises- the exact right combination to get pudgy little uncoordinated fingers to do the things that make for effortlessly beautiful music later.
dil·i·gence 1n.1. Earnest and persistent application to an undertaking; steady effort; assiduity.2. Attentive care; heedfulness.
The speaker’s point that day was that diligence was determinative in spiritual maturity. You couldn’t be half-hearted about growing in your faith and expect to see mature fruit in your life. For example, look at these verses ( I have left out a large number from Proverbs).
- Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.
- Deuteronomy 6:7
You shall teach [these words] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.
- Proverbs 8:17
“I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.
- Proverbs 4:23
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
- 2 Peter 1:5
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
- 2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
- Ephesians 4:3
being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Romans 12:11
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the [k]saints, [l]practicing hospitality.
- Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
- Romans 12:8
or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence…
Diligence is a quality that is prized by God. He invites us to earnestly and intentionally seek Him. He desires constancy toward Him in our hearts. That is what it takes for us to really reflect who He is to the people around us. He exhorts us to be attentive, even vigilant, to our relationships – as brothers and sisters in the Lord, as parents, as co-workers. He urges us to exert ourselves in our service and in our leadership.
Giving that steady effort and attentive care yields a bountiful harvest. Starting is the easy part. The question is – will we continue when it requires something more?