Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“In everything that he (Hezekiah) undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.”
II Chronicles 31: 2, N.IV.
“Help me in Christ to learn to do Thy will,
That I may have from Him eternal life;
And here on earth Thy perfect love fulfill,
Then home return victorious from the strife.”
“There is no other way in which one’s life will be so surely, so quickly transfigured, as in the faithful, happy, cheerful doing of every-day tasks.”
J. R. Miller
Today’s Study Text:
“And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.”
II Kings 6: 4, K.J.V.
“5 Big Lessons From One Little Iron Axe” Lesson 3 “Diligence”
“Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains.”
Definition of Diligence:Persistent application to one’s work. Painstaking effort. Careful attention to detail.
How would I personally define the word diligence in my everyday activities?
When I put my hand to any task I am given, do I diligently perform what I am asked to do?
“To do one’s best every time (one) does anything is to increase (one’s) power and prepare (one) for larger things.”
Henry Hopkins (1910)
“She was inspired to be something which was not what the rest were, and to be that something different and laborious, for the sake of the rest.”
Charles Dickens “Little Dorrit” (1857)
The quote above is taken from the serial novel penned by the famed British writer, Charles Dickens. This particular tale, centered on the life of a father and his children, who made their home in a debtors’ prison called Marshalsen, had part of its storyline based on fact for Dicken’s father, at one time, occupied this same prison.
Debtors’ prisons were strange and vicious places of containment for those who were incarcerated because they owed money and yet, they were not permitted to work until they paid off their debt. A crazy way to solve societies’ problems. In the case of the family that is followed in this particular story, a spirit of industry filled the lives of the daughters who wanted to see those they loved escape from behind the walls of the prison. Thus the quote above, describes Little Dorrit, the youngest girl in the family, who was inspired to get out of the squalor and destitution of prison life. By diligently working, Little Dorrit hoped to spread a bright light of industrious motivation into the lives of her entire family. Having watched the current version of this story on repeated occasions, I know how wonderful it is to witness the reversal of fortune that befalls this family and you come away, feeling as if diligence and hard-work are rewarded.
I wish I could say this was always the case, but as sad as it is to say, in societies overrun with greed and the desire to get ahead at any cost, the virtue of a diligent work ethic sometimes takes a hit as corners are cut to reach the financial pinnacle that the ruthless want ascend to.
Having to work in a world where hard work and devoted, honest behavior is not always rewarded with financial rewards that match the effort extended, it can place those who make it their life purpose to be examples of diligence, discouraged as day after day they labor, trying to get ahead in a “push you under” world.
In the book of Proverbs, King Solomon refers to the virtuous characteristic of “diligence” on repeated occasions. Here are just a few of the passages penned by this wise man:
*“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.”
Proverbs 12: 24, K.J.V.
*”The soul of the sluggard desireth and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Proverbs 13: 4, K.J.V.
*”The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
Proverbs 21: 5, K.J.V.
*”Seest thou a man (or woman) diligent in (their) business? (they) shall stand before kings.”
Proverbs 22: 28, K.J.V.
As King Solomon saw the situation, diligence in what “thy hand finds to do” was a key element in personal growth along with spiritual growth.
However, there is one other thing for us to learn from the passage which is our study text for today, II Kings 6: 4, and it is this. The men at the School of the Prophets were, as Matthew Henry observes, prophets or young “pastors” in training.
When the tyrannical pair of Ahab and Jezebel took up rulership in Israel, many of the prophets of God were immediately slaughtered, to put it bluntly. Some of those who were left were hidden in a cave by Obadiah, the overseer at Ahab’s palace and he took food from the kings’ supply to provide for these Godly men. It was from among the few spiritual leaders left in the land of Israel and the young men who were growing up and wanted to receive training at the feet of Elijah and Elisha, that the growing student body came from. These young men, it is obvious from the Biblical account in II Kings 6, did not come with some high and mighty attitude. Instead, their industrious spirit reflects that they were “servant leaders.” As Matthew Henry concurs, these students “desired not to live, like idle drones upon the labors of others, but only desired leave of their “president” to work for themselves. The sons of the prophets must not be so taken up with contemplations as to render themselves unfit for action, they must not indulge themselves in their ease to be adverse to labor.” And then Henry makes this pertinent observation, “let no one think an honest employment either a burden or disparagement.”
Over the past 30 days as our Transformation Garden Prayer List, made up of many of those who are seeking work has continued to grow, I’ve been deeply impressed by the diligence of those who are doing all they can, going to interview after interview, and faithfully trying to find gainful employment. I have to tell you that the employers who find themselves blessed by hiring some who are God’s Garden daughters and sons will be fortunate, indeed, for the lesson of diligence, “as working unto the Lord,” is one that has been well engrained into the lives of God’s Garden children – Praise His name!
In the words of Teresa of Avila:
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours;
yours are the only hands with which He
can do His work, yours are the only feet with which He can
go about the world,
yours are the only eyes through which His
compassion can shine forth upon a troubled world.
Christ has no body on earth now but yours.”
May we, with a diligent spirit, do our work each day as unto God.
“Every Christian should pursue excellence of workmanship and service in whatever vocational calling (they) find themselves.”
Master, Hast Thou Work For Me
“Master, hast Thou work for me?
I would gladly toil for Thee;
I have neither strength nor skill,
Yet some place I long to fill.
Let me daily sow some seed,
Daily do some kindly deed;
Grant Thy loving help to me,
Give me perfect trust in Thee.
Trusting Thee to teach me how,
Let me serve Thee; here and now.”
Jessie H. Brown
“Jesus, Master whom I serve, though so feebly and so ill, strengthen hand and heart and nerve, all Thy bidding to fulfill; open Thou mine eyes to see, all the work Thou hast for me.”
Frances R. Havergal
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. During the coming weeks, gifts which are sent to Transformation Garden will help us honor requests for God’s Word, as shared through our bookmarks, with God’s children in India, Russia, Pakistan, Australia and here in the United States in women’s prisons and for Domestic Abuse Shelters. I thank you so much for the gifts you have chosen to send – Praise God! Your generosity is helping us share God’s Word in countries where the bookmarks are accepted as beautiful artwork but they carry the message of God’s saving grace. Thank you again!!
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-349-8619.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.