“Finish your outdoor work
and get your fields ready;
after that, build your house.”
~Proverbs 24:27 (NIV).
The journey to diligence is somewhat a tricky endeavour. It’s an elusive location demanding a stern-at-times self-discipline, to the point of doing that which we don’t feel we want to do, despite reason which might be shouting, “Are you crazy?”
Doing first things first is keeping up and not getting behind.
The Will of God – the Action of ‘Another’ Influential Party
It’s about gracing the presence of our lives with the care of someone special tenderly looking over our shoulder; our heavenly Father. It’s allowing the breath of God to still our minds in the midst of fear.
First things first is knowing the will of God right now and just commencing it—despite what we’re feeling otherwise.
In doing this, we’re acting on behalf of the self that cares not so much for the self right now.
It is an act of faith. It is entering the pain of awkwardness, embarrassment, discomfort and all manner of other noteworthy contentions to our peace.
Diligence, here, is buoyed with courage—underpinned by same.
Courage has it to bite the bullet and bring forward the life to be lived—not entirely on the self’s terms—but with the self’s future beneficence certainly in mind.
A Fight at the Mental Level
Putting first things first is a victory of the soul acting for itself—still often quite apart from itself. Self-discipline like this is two-minded game with the diligent mind always seeming to have the upper hand over the sluggard mind.
The proverb at top is poignant.
We daren’t commit to the nice-to-have when we only have the time and resources right now for the need-to-do-right-now.
If we miss our chance, like oil through our fingers, we may miss it forever.
Play with the kids or work an extra half hour?
Spend the money on a memorable moment with family or save the money for a better choice of window treatment in the new home planned?
Finish the work we have right now before us, and then play with the kids (when our minds are free of burden, so we can be ourselves with them)?
Options involve choice; choice—good choice—involves wisdom.
Wisdom and Diligence – Locked and Unopposed
Diligence, from the Proverbs tradition, is inherent in wisdom. We cannot hope to be wise or to grow in wisdom if we’re not growing in diligence—doing the need-to-do things before we do the nice-to-do things.
Now, it depends entirely on our values set what determines the need-to-do from the nice-to-do.
Work and family, for instance, dictates that both are in the need-to-do basket—one from necessity, the only because of love. Let’s hope we don’t get these confused. But worse than getting these confused is doing little or nothing at all i.e. not doing both well.
We do have time to do all the important things, despite what we often think to the contrary—that our timelines are impossible. They aren’t.
Let’s devote proportionately to all the compartments of our lives. Let’s be known as diligent a.k.a. caring.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.