Thoughts on Diligence

I sat across a table from a pastor this past week who informed me that certain types of pastors within his denomination were known for being lazy. The unfortunate reality is that many in our communities think the pastorate is about Sundays and golfing. It is a perspective that has not been created from thin air, and one that is displeading to our Lord. I subscibe to John Maxwell’s leadership newsletter. This month had a strong article on diligence. Thought I would share it with you. Hope you are encouraged, as I was, to work hard within the most privileged vocation any one can hold. 

The Consequences of Not Being Diligent
1. You Will Be Ruled.“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24).No one likes living life out of control, and we despise being ordered around by others. Yet, if we’re lazy, our labor will be dictated by the demands of someone else. This principle can be seen most clearly in the financial realm. Laziness with finances leads to debt, and when we’re in debt we don’t rule our money. Instead of enjoying our discretionary income, we are forced to use it to repay debts.

2. You Will Crave But Find Little Fulfillment.“The soul of the sluggard craves, but he gets nothing.” (Proverbs 13:4)Sadly, for those who lack diligence, their lives are defined by desire rather than fulfillment. Absent of the discipline to lead the life of their dreams, they are left with empty wishes.

3. You Will Lack Understanding.“He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread, but he that follows vain persons is void of understanding” (Proverbs 28:19).Today, television channels are filled with people who guarantee wealth without work. They promise you can buy real estate with no money down, make thousands of dollars in stock trading without a penny of savings, etc. Solomon cautions that those who chase after quick-buck artists and their get-rich-quick schemes demonstrate only their ignorance. Individuals who work heartily reap the bounty of their effort. Those who try to cheat the system to gain wealth find themselves as the ones being taken advantage of.

Steps to Bring Diligence into Your LifeBeing truly diligent takes time and requires making a habit of applying diligence daily in the important areas of life. However, you don’t have to wait years to start employing diligence in your endeavors. Solomon gives us three steps we can use quickly to bring diligence into our careers, our marriages, or our parenting.

1. Wake Up to Reality.“How long will you lie there,” he asks. “When will you get up from your sleep?…poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:9-11)We think that we have more time than we actually do to achieve our personal and professional goals. Thus, we procrastinate doing what we know we should do. Days of inaction add together into unproductive weeks. Weeks of idleness accumulate as meaningless months. Months and months of lethargy turn into wasted years, and wasted years are the fruitless products of a life filled with regret and sorrow.Life has more to offer than evenings mindlessly surfing the internet or reclining on the couch watching ESPN or E!. Make each day your masterpiece. Give your dreams a shot by taking steps to lead the life you imagine.

2. Define Your Vision.“Without a vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18)When we have no vision, we lose our direction, our motivation, our joy, our passion, our energy, our creativity, and our commitment. Fortunately, the converse of this proverb is also true. Whenever you introduce a true vision into any area of your life, you gain new energy. Visions spark action and fuel initiative.

3. Effectively Partner With Others.“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.”(Proverbs 18:1)In today’s interconnected world, the upper echelon of leadership has no room for lone rangers. Wise leaders diligently develop a team of talented performers and a network of friends and partners. In doing so, they become rich in social capital. As I wrote in The 17 Laws of Teamwork, “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.”

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