“What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” Samuel Johnson
When I was a boy my father was given a 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk. It was driveable at the time but in need of repair and restoration. As soon as he got it home it died. He ordered the needed part to get the engine running but to no avail. He and I had talked about fixing it up, and I held out hope for many years that one day we would indeed take the time, order the parts and fix that old car. Over the course of several years this very fine automobile sat in our front yard, deteriorating. We never fixed it.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick.
Diligence is described as the effort towards a particular goal made quickly and often with the hope of completion. As our world changes around us it is far too often that we fall away from our efforts and goals. We can easily forget why we are here and lose the diligence needed to fulfill our God-given purpose. Our eyes become fixed on the shifting sands instead of on the prize ahead of us and we quit.
No one would define themselves as quitters. We may not even admit to having ceased our work. In fact often times we may even lie to ourselves and others about how much we are doing for God while we fill our days with everything but God. Our work, our hobbies, even our good deeds can be the very things taking us away from our purpose. Even things we may define as spiritual endeavors may take us away from what we should be doing.
There has been a great deal of discussion lately regarding the impending fall of our nation and maybe the end of the world. Everything is so uncertain that surely this must be the end that was foretold in scripture. While I recognize the urgency presented to us in the Bible, I wonder if at times we use this expectancy of “the end” as an excuse for complacency. I know of those who while believing that the end is near chose to spend more time locked away in a sanctuary than sharing the good news of the Gospel with the world around them. If in fact the world is about to end, shouldn’t we have all the more urgency about sharing the love and opportunity of salvation presented in Jesus?
To be diligent in actions, we must be full of hope. Hope that the Gospel truly can save people. Hope that Christ in us truly is the answer for this world. Hope that our lives lived for the cause of Jesus really can make a difference. When the world around seems so overwhelming that our efforts seem in vain, we will simply surrender our diligence for expectancy of some form of relief.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m eager to see the return of our Lord with my own eyes, quickly. When that day comes I want to be found faithfully doing what He has asked us all to be busy doing: Making Disciples of All Nations. When we spend more time complaining about the changes in our world than we do being an agent of change for good in the lives of those in our world, then we have lost the hope of Glory and the diligence it produces in our lives.
Be hopefully diligent. Be a people full of the faith that tomorrow can be better than yesterday. Remember that you can actually make a difference in this world and then get out there and diligently make that difference. As Javier Mendoza says, “Be Good and Do Good” every day.