Applying the Character Quality of Diligence

Diligence vs. Slothfulness

3 min

Diligence is accepting each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to do it quickly and skillfully.

Several Hebrew and Greek words are translated diligence in the Bible. They communicate such concepts as rising early; searching out with painstaking effort; being earnest, eager, and determined; working swiftly, skillfully, and efficiently; and pursuing a task promptly and energetically. One of the richest word pictures for diligence is found in the Hebrew word charuwts. It signifies a trench that is dug or gold that is mined.

The California Gold Rush of 1849 provides a powerful illustration of diligence. Men living on the East Coast of the United States dropped everything and rushed out to the West Coast to dig for gold. They worked swiftly and thoroughly without regard for personal weariness or sacrifice. They were motivated to work because they visualized what they could do with the gold they discovered. If this same energy and motivation is invested in every project that we undertake, the quality of diligence will be seen and honored.

The Great Rewards of Diligence

Valuable rewards are promised to those who are diligent. For example, diligent workers will receive riches, leadership, favor, a standing before rulers, an understanding of the meaning of life, and honor from God.

  • “Seest thou a man diligent [skillful] in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men” (Proverbs 22:29).
  • “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule …” (Proverbs 12:24).
  • “… The hand of the diligent maketh rich” (Proverbs 10:4).

The Biblical Encouragement to Be Diligent

God encourages us to have diligence in the following areas:

  • Resolving legal disputes (See Luke 12:58.)
  • Carrying out leadership responsibilities (See Romans 12:8.)
  • Doing good works (See I Timothy 5:10, Ephesians 2:10.)
  • Seeking the Lord (See Hebrews 11:6.)
  • Watching over fellow believers (See Hebrews 12:15.)
  • Making your calling and election sure (See II Peter 1:10.)
  • Developing Godly character (See II Peter 1:5–7.)
  • Working for personal peace and purity (See II Peter 3:14.)

The Key to Developing Diligence

True diligence requires an expenditure of energy that is opposite to our human nature. We naturally tend to make soft choices and let others do the hard work. Whenever asked to carry out a difficult task, we usually ask ourselves two questions: “What will I gain if I do it?” or “What will I lose if I do not do it?” God provides answers to these questions in the following passage of Scripture.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23–24).

True diligence requires an expenditure of energy that is opposite to our human nature.

Therefore, our motivation for diligent labor is to realize that we do not work for just an earthly employer, but that we are actually employed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He will make a thorough inspection of all that we do and reward us for diligence, not only in this life, but throughout all of eternity.

Because Jesus Christ is our employer, we do not need to worry if we are not recognized for extra effort that we invest in quality work, nor do we need to wonder whether He will notice if we overlooked or avoided details that might not be noticed by others. With this understanding, we should be motivated to fulfill the instruction of Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you complete an assigned task quickly and enthusiastically, or do you reluctantly fit it into your schedule?
  • Do you plan ahead in order to do a job in the quickest and most efficient way?
  • Do you redeem valuable minutes that easily could be wasted?
  • Do you do a job to first please the Lord and then your employer?
  • Do you work wholeheartedly to complete each job?
  • Do you use every minute of company time to make your employer successful?
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