In Support of Diligence
by Jacob Hudgins
“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied”(Prov 13:4).
Diligence is not a popular idea in our time. The word itself seems to sweat. It is an unpopular call to a generation that much prefers ease and entertainment to the satisfaction of hard work. Yet Scripture declares loudly that the rich fruit we seek (being “richly supplied”) comes on the other side of diligent labor. Diligence means intense focus and willingness to endure difficulty to achieve our goal—and it is an attribute Christians need desperately.
We need diligence in physical work. “The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied”(Prov 13:4). It is easy to want; it is hard to work. It may mean seeing the light of employment at the end of the long tunnel of education. It may require working hard to scrimp and save to have what we desire. Whatever our aim, God provides for and blesses those who are willing to work hard.
We need diligence in raising children. “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him”(Prov 13:24). “Diligent” here actually means “early” or “at dawn.” It is not that children should wake up already in trouble, but that parents must be early at their task of discipline. It is a wearisome, consistently draining task to enforce rules, settle disputes, and teach godly values. But can we afford to fail?
We need diligence in developing our character. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge”(2 Pet 1:5, NKJV). Spiritual growth is much like physical growth—so slow that it is almost imperceptible. Yet we must continue in self-examination, admitting and confronting our weaknesses. We need the self-control to make changes, remaining focused on our task because we so desperately want to be like the Savior. “Giving all diligence” is an all-encompassing term that says this is worth whatever it takes.
The amazing thing about diligence is that God works through it! God provides for our physical needs—when we are diligent! God blesses our families and our parenting—when we are diligent! God works on us to become new people—when we are diligent! Though we may never relish hard work, we can always expend ourselves in the hope that God will bless us with what truly matters to us. Let’s work for Him!