Growing up in the church, I regularly heard the word diligence, “be like the ‘dilig-ANT’ Dad would say”, or I’d read “…go to the ant you sluggard (lazy bones) observe her ways and be wise…no one has to tell them what to do…so wake up sleepyhead…”(Proverbs 6:6) Diligence meant working hard, doing what needs to be done and not being lazy! “See a need, fill a need” was a quote from the movie ‘ROBOTS’, that ran through my head constantly. I became very work oriented. If I wasn’t working hard, I wasn’t pleasing my parents, friends, employers, and more importantly God!
My family was a part of a ministry that taught families how to become Character Families. Achieving true success by applying the Character Qualities of Jesus Christ, to life. We taught scriptures, songs, and stories to help them understand each character quality and how to display it. The opposite of diligence is slothfulness – such a negative picture, in my mind, of what we looked like if we weren’t working hard and going, going, going!
Diligence was defined as ‘Accepting each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to do it quickly and skillfully.” Problem was, I lost sight of the ‘assignment from the Lord” part and just accepted every task given to me, and used all my energy to do it quickly and skillfully. I became a “yes woman” (and to be completely honest, I married a “yes man”). Looking back, I realize, that I am STILL very works based. If my kids are not DOING something productive, I tend to give them a job or get onto them asking, “what could you be doing to help?” Sometimes I’ve even seen my husband sitting on his phone, not doing anything productive (in my opinion) and feel resentment in my heart about all the things that need to be done and wonder why he isn’t helping! I had begun to get exhausted as I took on tasks, not wanting to say yes, but saying yes to please people anyway.
I know there are many of you reading this that feel the same way. As a wife and mum of 5 who homeschools, has a baking business, and helps run a children’s ministry (insert here whatever it is you regularly do), it feels like the work is never done and that we don’t have time to be lazy! “I’ve got to get the kids to this, that or the other sport/school/church event! I’ve got to do this, that or the other thing for my coworker/family member/friend.” Let me encourage you to think about it from a different perspective: God has given me opportunities to be diligent and to do everything I do, with my whole heart, as if I’m doing it for the Lord— seeing every task and activity in life as an assignment specifically from Him and using ALL my energy to do it quickly and skillfully—FOR HIM. Finish the dishes AND wipe the counters-FOR HIM. Teach your children to put their toys and clothes away AND pick up the rubbish—FOR HIM. Demonstrate to them, by example, how to change their perspective.
I’m learning that no one else may ever notice OR care about the work we do as wives, mothers and employees… in some instances it’s even expected-that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do. BUT GOD! God notices! God cares! God SEES us! If WE can see our day to day activities as individual assignments FROM GOD to grow our character and see Him as our ‘employer’, we don’t need to worry if others don’t recognize what we do for them, nor do we need to wonder whether we are appreciated or be concerned when we are overlooked or taken for granted. Instead, we can be motivated to fulfill the instruction of Ecclesiastes 9:10 “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…”
Let’s change our perspective to the Lord’s. Let’s take on our daily tasks with the motivation of love and an attitude of joy, and see them as opportunities to serve and be a witness for the Lord. Let’s ask Jesus to be Lord over each aspect of our day, to help us see that ultimately it is He who we are serving, and that with a changed perspective we CAN be content and do every task as if Jesus Himself asked us to do it for Him! We CAN do ALL things through Him who gives us the strength and the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do it.
Am I doing this _____ as if I’m doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others? (Colossians 3:23) The DOING of the work is a given. It’s a constant; it doesn’t end. The HEART of the work, the ATTITUDE in which it is done, is the key. THIS is the part that God cares about…and that we should care about.
We would like to thank Bree Elam for sharing this post.