Character Trait No. 18
Definition: Seeing a chore (work) as a special assignment from the Lord and doing everything to complete it.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.”
Heartily means enthusiastically. Enthusiasm makes work fun! Full-fledged participation from the heart gives one maximum energy. There’s zip and zest in doing things heartily rather than half-heartedly. Any job worth doing is certainly worth doing right, and finishing all the way. Half way is NO WAY! Once cannot win the race of life half-heartedly. Everything is easier when our mind-set if right. Doing any chore reluctantly is like driving with the emergency brakes on: Smoke! Sparks! Smelly, burning brake pads. This is definitely not the way to make good progress.
Many people (most?) lead their lives unenthusiastically just “doing some stuff”, just going through the motions like some robot with a bad wiring job. “Mickey Mouseing” around is what my uncle Ben used to say when messing all day with stuff on his dairy farm, but not getting much done. Many times we jokingly greet friends with, “Working hard, or hardly working?” With sagging hunched shoulders and head kept down, many are real life imitations of “Droopy”. ( A very sl.o..o...w talking and slo.o.ow moving cartoon dog.) Gravity and life has got them down, and the sooner they can get home and rest some more, the better. Unless under constant surveillance by the boss, coffee breaks stretch longer and longer, and work hours “disappear” magically into thin air. Productively drops and stagnation occurs.
One type of person that describes diligent, by comparison, is MR. PROCRASTINATION. His favorite song is Annie’s song, “Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I love you, tomorrow, you are only a day, away! His favorite phrase is, “ I will, I will do it.” He is always going to start working on his latest grand idea, a project that will take your breath away...if he could just get started. He is so excited in the planing and talking stage. But the finishing stage never comes.
Completing any chore or task is analogous to perfecting our character. Each chore should be seen as another great chance to develop the character trait of diligence. This is having a good start with a strong finish – “Finish Hard!” (Picture a runner bursting through the winners’ tape with his chest out and arms pumping hard.) It’s doing what is above and beyond what is merely required. Tackling projects with gusto – a "gung ho” attitude and seeing them to completion is diligence. Going the second mile, staying up late, doing the overtime, all these comprise the action attitude of diligence.
Heroic men like Joseph and Nehemiah stick out as excellent examples of this trait. Nehemiah went perhaps 52 days without bathing while supervising the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 445 B.C. Threat of imminent attack from their enemies put the Jews into “red alert “status while working. ( Neh. 4:23, 6:15) Yet the walls were finished in that short time, an immense building project. He had also left his home and family and a very comfortable and prestigious job in the Persian government in order to lead this task.
Of course, Jesus saw His “chore” through – going to the cross as our sin offering and fulfilling numerous specific prophecies in doing so. (Is. 53; Ps. 22; Zech.12:10 & 11:12;Luke 24:26, etc)
Here are some clues as to how to be diligent:
1. Keep a monthly, weekly and monthly “To Do List” with the most important items listed first. Put the date on top, and keep updating this list as you complete each task. Here’s an example:
TO DO LIST – April 7th – 13th
1. COMPLETE MEMORIZING MARK 2.
2. READ JOHN’S ENTIRE GOSPEL.
3. CONTACT NANA A. TOMORROW.
4. BUY GIFT FOR SHERRIE.
5. CALL BRO. JAY AT 4:00 PM
6. PREPARE FOR TRIP TO BOLGATANGA.
7. SEE KK ABOUT RENTAL AGREEMENT AND LAND DEAL.
2. Set a schedule for starting and finishing assigned tasks. Let this schedule rule! Follow it unless absolutely impossible. You’ll end up being much more productive, and save wasting mental energy wondering what to do next.
3. Tackle doing the hardest tasks first, when you have the most creative energy for mentally and/or physically tough tasks. For example, in the World’s Strongest Man Competition, there is one event called the Atlas Stones. Five stones ranging in weight from 200 – 350+ lbs. must be manhandled up on top of five increasingly higher platforms. If you start with the lightest, by the time you get to the heaviest, there is no more “gas” left to complete the event.
4. Plan rewards for successfully completing tasks on schedule: a nap; volleyball game with the children; a fan ice, etc.
5. Learn to work smarter, not just harder. There is probably a better, more efficient way if we would just think. Improvise and be creative. Ask others for advice.
6. Be organized. Have a place for everything. Keep tools, (pens & notebooks; saws, hammers, drills; cooking utensils, etc), in neat order and ready for use. Be tidy and straighten up the messes. Keep a clean desk and tidy workspace.
7. Use correct tools for the job. Don’t use screwdrivers as chisels or wrenches as hammers. In the end you break you tools and you’ll be in worse shape than before.
8. Be mentally tough. Learn to push yourself to new heights of productivity. We can almost always do more than we think that we can. We just need proper motivation, determination and faith in God’s ability to strengthen us. (Phil. 4:13)) Peter walked on water!! Another less spectacular example is the 60 year old man who followed a new training program that his son-in-law gave him, and broke a 40 year old personal pull-up record that he’s set as a strong, young Marine! ( He did 20) “MILO” magazine. Paul said that he strove “according to the power, which mightily works within me”. (Col. 1:29)
9. A present, positive, affirmative statement is a cure for procrastinators. As we think within ourselves, so are we. Write down on a card, and continually repeat to yourself: “I am a hardworking man who always completes my assigned chores (work) by God’s might working in me.”
Remember that being diligent is another necessary building block in developing the perfect love of Christ within us so that we might be perfect in character, as our Heavenly Father is perfect. BE DILGENT about becoming a man who is diligent!