Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
When we have a deadline to meet or a goal we intend to achieve, we are earnest to push ourselves to the limit to get results. We don’t do this with most tasks or responsibilities, unless they have great significance. The goals we set for ourselves will prove our mettle—by our grit and discipline.
25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we do it for an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9) .
When we are determined to achieve something, we can be persistent regardless of setbacks we face. We become scrupulous with our time, so that we are making the most progress we can, to get to the finish line. Diligence is the determination to succeed in an undertaking, with precision and discipline.
42 And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has (Luke 12).
How we perform our tasks in the absence of those we are responsible to, is telling of our attitude towards what has been entrusted to us. If we are faithful with what is required of us when our superior is absent, then we are worth our salt. When we disregard how to conduct ourselves in their absence, we neglect integrity. Diligence is expressed in honesty and hard work. With or without supervision, we should be able to faithfully perform our duties, in a timely manner. When one part of any organization is failing to execute its responsibilities, it affects the entire entity’s performance. What portion are you withholding from others by your negligence at home, church or work?
Failure to do little things well, shows lack of focus. The LORD has blessed us with responsibilities because He knows we have the potential to do well. God will not give us the privilege of serving at a higher capacity, if we fail to serve well in menial duties. My fellow believers in Christ, as we await His return we have important responsibilities within our circles. We must be careful to do what pleases Him, even in the mundane tasks. We should not procrastinate on the responsibilities that fall to us to perform.
The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away (1 Peter 5).
Those in leadership at home or church are responsible to give those they oversee their portions faithfully: Teach the Word faithfully and serve with humility and commitment. Execute all your duties with integrity. Church leaders are representatives of God’s Authority over those they oversee. They have the responsibility to serve multiple needs within the Body of Christ. Though they have needs themselves emotionally, spiritually and financially, they must not serve for their own gains; as they set an example of Christ to the flock. Church leadership must represent Christ’s desire for His people. They are under Christ’s Authority to be who they have been invested as, shepherds of His flock. They also must be willing to roll up their sleeves and serve alongside others, by not overworking them.
48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24).
When the boss is not around, those who are left to hold down the fort, sometimes take liberty with their authority. They may begin to act like they are the boss, being disrespectful, micromanaging others while not lifting a finger to help. Similarly, some within the Body of Christ, may get impatient as they wait for Christ’s return and begin to be critical of others, start backsliding and living in debauchery. We are warned to always be ready and vigilant, doing what we have been called to do. When it seems our Master is delaying His return, we still have to be diligent servants. We don’t know if we will live to see the next hour, nor do we know at what hour He will come. For the most part, it’s better to be in our best form. Eagerly awaiting our LORD, we must keep doing the next thing. We have to try to carry each day abiding in Him. He is ever present and always working. We are looking forward to seeing our LORD, though He is already in us. We need not conduct ourselves as if He left the room.
47 And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12).
The more knowledge we have about what is required of us, the higher the expectations put on us. The servants of God have already been steeped into what is acceptable to Him. They have no excuse for not applying that knowledge. Much has been committed to us, but more so to the teachers, pastors and leaders. Since they have the privilege of attaining the knowledge in Scripture and teaching others to follow it, they have a greater onus to live it out. Responsibility comes with accountability. Knowledge must be applied appropriately, to be of any use. Our actions are proof of our convictions. Just as parents are accountable to practice what they preach to their children; those who are entrusted to us have high expectations of us.
17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen (2 Peter 3).
There are those who have been enlightened longer than others. These are responsible to live out what they have believed. Failure to do what we know is right has repercussions. Since we have been kept in God’s Goodness, Mercy and Love, we are required to be outlets of the same. We are led away into wickedness when we fail to give what we have abundantly received. For those who are just starting to live in Christ, it’s incumbent upon them to grow in the knowledge of Who He is; so that they can be more like Him. What we have received from God’s Riches must be disseminated to others. There will be chastising for those who fail to do as commanded; it will be more severe for those who have the most knowledge and understanding.
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being (1 Corinthians 10).
We have to be able to sift out the things that are meaningful, relevant and helpful, from those things that are a waste of our time and effort. It’s okay to not give our attention to things that will not benefit us. Being diligent requires the wisdom to engage in matters that have value. Time is precious by how we prioritize its use. Wasted time can never be regained. Not everything will benefit us though we may have a right to it. Everything that is our right may not accommodate the needs of others. We have to be willing to make some compromises by not just seeking our own gain, but that of others. Diligence takes others into consideration.
12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force (Matthew 11) .
It’s not enough to just have head knowledge of the truths that pertain to living a godly life. No amount of years of studying the Scriptures is enough to make us righteous, but putting it all into practice. The life we live in Christ is not one to take for granted—it cost Him His Life to give us Eternal Life in Him. Just as He was diligent, we must be the same. No one can do this for us, we have to make this commitment and stick with it through thick and thin. We must be willing to suffer to attain what has already been given to us. Since much has been given, much is expected in our conduct, tenacity and perseverance. We await with expectation as those who have received what is promised. We only live this life in Christ, once, so let’s do it right.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light (Colossians 1).