2001-05-14 - Diligence
Diligence Series, Part 1
Matthew 25:2 And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
I would like to take a couple of Mondays, at least, and spend some time on the issue of diligence in the Christian life. Diligence is a lost practice in the American Christian tradition. In many ways Christians in America can get by without living a lifestyle that diligently seeks righteousness and pursues godliness. But this is a false way of thinking. The Lord would have us follow Him diligently, carefully, with all our being and all we have.
Scripture tells us the importance of diligence in our every day activities. "Whatever your hand finds to do, truly, do it with all your might..." Ecclesiastes 9:10 But if we are to put forth all this effort in our normal outward duties, how much more effort should we expend in the care of our soul? The soul is so much more important than the body. If we are to do our earthly duties with all our might, how much more care should we expend in the care of our souls?
The Bible also tells us that this is not an easy thing to accomplish. "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Hebrews 12:11 This passage continues further and links this practice of discipline to our need to be sure that no one fall from their walk with the Lord (vs. 15). Part of our practice of discipline and diligence in our walk with the Lord is to be an example and light to those around us.
Matthew 25:1-13 gives us the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. The foolish virgins lost out because they were unprepared. They lacked the proper discipline and diligence to prepare to meet the bridegroom when he came. Of course this is really a parable about the kingdom of heaven as Matthew 25:1 tells us. It is important then for us to learn this lesson about the importance of being prepared.
This parable is interesting for another reason. The foolish virgins were seeking to enter the kingdom of God. They desired to enter. They wanted to join the bridegroom. However seeking was not enough because while they sought, they did not prepare. They were seeking the right things but they did not seek in the right manner. In the end they missed out. There are so many lessons here for us that I will simply leave this thought for your own consideration. But this is one of the lessons of this parable.
If discipline and diligence were easily obtained we would all have it. But the fact is that few ever attain a disciplined and diligent lifestyle. I have a friend who I would not say is the most capable person in the world. He is not blessed with a great intellect or superb talents, but I have always thought that he will excel in anything he sets his mind to. Why? His is very disciplined. He approaches everything carefully and with diligence, paying attention to the smallest details. I know others have greater gifts, but he will surpass them all and the difference is the care and precision with which he approaches every part of his life. May the Lord make us all more like that in our faith and practice.
Soli Deo Gloria,