“The plans of the diligent lead only to plenty, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
Proverbs are general truths or observations. The contrast here is between the careful planner and hard worker and the person in a hurry to get wealthy.
Does our popular phrase, “Haste makes waste” apply here?
#diligence #haste #Proverbs #VOTD
The book of Ruth has always been one of those Bible stories that has touched the hearts of the romantic and raised appreciation in the godly. It is a story of diligence in loyalty. We live in an age self-serving action. We are loyal only so long as it pleases us. In all too many cases, contractors fail to perform, husbands and wives fail in faithfulness, employers and employees are disloyal to one another, children continuously violate their parents trust, face book backstabbing is a daily (sometimes hourly) occurrence. Loyalty is hard to find.
Then, there are the misplaced loyalties. Some will lie, cheat, even break the law for their friends. Some demonstrate against the very constitution and country that give them the freedoms they enjoy. Long lived family feuds have been carried on without real consideration of right by either side. Too many Christians will allow almost anything to cause them to disobey and ignore the God of their salvation to please themselves in relaxation, recreation, vacation, family, schoolwork, etc.
Ruth is the opposite of this. The loyalty of both of Naomi’s daughters in law are obvious from their faithfulness to their husbands and also after they died: “And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people” (Ruth 1:10). After accepting Ruth’s persuasion to remain with their own family, one of them left her. But Ruth uttered her statement of loyalty at this time: “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and they God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She diligently remained loyal when they were without food, diligently gathered food, diligently was loyal to Naomi’s advice.
I leave you with this thought. Look once again at your commitments. Are you loyal to God first with His standards of right living and right worship, then family, then friends, then other trivial pursuits? Let’s determine that we are going to be diligently loyal.
Would you trust God when nothing in your life seems to be going right? Would you diligently hold to your faith when you cannot explain why terrible things are happening to you? Do you sometimes question the faithfulness of God? Do doubts arise in your heart and your mind, when it feels like He has abandoned His care for you?
Satan has already shown his true colors. He would like nothing more than to create the seed of doubt and disbelief in your heart. And there is seldom an easier time to do that than when you are under inexplicable duress.
Your heart cries out, “Why is this happening?” Brothers and sisters, THINK OF JOB, and keep on keeping on. Keep on believing. Keep on trusting. Keep on praying. Keep on working.
Job inexplicably lost everything he counted of value. The whole book of Job is his asking, “Why?” This man, whom the God of Heaven praised so highly, was not protected from complete financial ruin, devastating emotional destruction through family death, debilitating physical illness, complete loss of reputation and even the loss of his wife’s support. How could it get much worse? He wished that he had never been born.
But God had not forsaken him and He will not forsake you (Heb.13:5-6). When we do not understand why such devastation is happening to us, we can, at least, know that God knows and He cares (1 Pet. 5:7).
If we die in the worst of conditions, but die with diligently obedient and trusting faith, it will no matter what our condition was before we died. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…” (Rev. 14:13).
God has already said of such people that the world is not worthy to have them in it (Heb. 11:32-38).
My friend, be diligent. God will not abandon you, even if it seems like it from our poor human thinking (Is. 55:8-11). Keep on keeping on.
Our slogan this month is “keep on keeping on.” It is an expression about diligent action. But there is so much in which we can be diligent. What, exactly, are the things in which we are to keep on keeping on?
One of those things can be understood in the actions of Jesus. Acts 10:38 records that Jesus spent His lifetime going about doing good. Jesus, on the occasion of the last Passover meal of His life, taught the disciples that they were to spend their life in service to others (John 13:1-15). It is no wonder then that we find that our reward or punishment pronounced at the judgment will, in part (there are many parts), be based upon our lifetime service to those in difficult situations (Matt. 25:31-46). Some of the types of folks to which we must minister are the hungry, the thirsty, the stranded stranger, the sick, the naked, and those in prison.
You will notice two or three particular points about those in the above mentioned situations.
- First, such people are always with us. All of our lifetime, we will hear or know of people in these difficult situations. We will never run out of the opportunity to serve others.
- Second, to give even a brief relief or comfort to any of these folks will require us to go the extra mile. None of this can be done from our pews or armchairs. That means, that for a lifetime, Jesus wants us to plan enough spare time in our days and weeks that we can use it fruitfully in helping folks such as these.
Friends, can it be the case that we should not fill our lives with so much that we enjoy and want? Should we, like Job, search out the people around us to whom we can become servants? Would it be better to fill our children’s lives with examples and opportunities for service rather than quite so much recreation, team sports, boys and girls organizations or too much play time?
Two passages that continually come to my mind as I think about diligence are 1 Cor. 15:58 and Gal. 6:9-10. We are:
- In doing good (as our Lord did)
So, let’s keep on keeping on.
by Mike Glenn
The text found in Ephesians 4:20-32 is intended by Paul to be a brief synopsis of the changes that must be made when one becomes a Christian. You and I know that change is hard. Leaving sin behind is very hard. Growing in the right actions and attitudes is hard. To do any of this, we must “keep on keeping on” in our pursuit of diligence.
·V. 22: We are to put change our former conduct. If you think that is not hard, ask someone who struggles to lose weight or someone who tries to quit tobacco or alcohol. Watch someone strive to go from being lazy to being industrious or someone who cusses constantly to strive to become pure of speech. How about realizing the difficulty of a person who dislikes reading and study to become a diligent student of the Bible. To accomplish any of these requires consistent diligence (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
·V. 22-23: We make these changes with a diligent effort to change our thinking. We must stop being deceived by lusts which tell us to fulfill them, which scream that we must be satisfied in their accomplishment. On the contrary, our minds must see these desires as nails in the coffin of hell. Our “renewed mind” must recognize their danger and turn intentionally and surely away toward the practice of Christ-like attitudes and actions (Gal. 5:23-24; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; Matt 5:3-12. In our hearts, sin must become exceedingly sinful (Rom. 7:13) so that our minds win the battle against the law of sin (Rom. 7:21-8:2).
·V. 25-31: Honesty must replace lying, love and forgiveness must replace angry retaliation or grudge holding, industry and benevolence is to replace selfish thievery, favorable edifying speech is to replace gossip, slander, backbiting and filthy speech.
Each of these and many other commands of our Savior require planning, concentration, and follow through. In other words we must keep on keeping on.
The story is told about a bus driver became annoyed with his job because he had to wait 7 minutes after every run near an open field which litterbugs had made into an unofficial dump. He often thought that somebody should do something about that unsightly mess.
One day he himself decided to get out and pick up some of the tin cans and other debris which were lying all around. This improved things so much that he soon was eager to complete his route and spend all his free moments in cleaning up the area.
When spring came, he was so enthusiastic about his project that he decided to sow some flower seeds.
By the end of the summer many were riding to the end of the line just to see what the thoughtful servant had accomplished by doing what he and others had only talked about before.
Prov. 12:24 – The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn, Mercedes and Lauren Hitchcock
OUR life may be food to us, or may, if we have it so, be poison, but one or the other it must be. Whichever and whatever it is, beyond all doubt it is eminently real. So merely as the day and the night alternately follow one another, does every day when it yields to darkness, and every night when it passes into dawn, bear with it its own tale of the results which it has silently wrought upon each of us for evil or for good. The day of diligence, duty and devotion leaves it richer than it found us, richer sometimes, and even commonly, in our circumstances; richer always in ourselves.
–Wm. Ewart Gladstone.
(John 10:10) “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
(John 10:11) “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.
“Thoughts For Today to Brighten Your Day” by Glenn Hitchcock
Do you bear in your body the marks of hard work and diligence? Brian Larson tells the story of a co-worker’s encounter with the great conductor, George Szell.
Over our office lunch recently I visited with a fellow employee named Cindy and learned that her father taught music at Wheaton College and also coordinated the Artist Series. He had the privilege of meeting celebrated musicians who were to perform at the College. George Szell, legendary music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, was one of them when Cindy was in her early teen years. Cindy’s father introduced her to Szell and pointed out that she played the viola. Ever the taskmaster, the visiting maestro put his fingers under her chin and lifted to see the left side of her jaw. “It doesn’t look like she practices much,” Szell said, making a serious point in a playful manner. As violinists and viola players know, the more you practice, the more the skin under the jaw where the violin is held is darkened. Disciplined, hard work leaves its mark.
from a _Preaching Today_ email by Brian Larson