DILIGENCE – A Four-Minute Sermon
By Clyde C. Miller
DO YOUR DARNeDEST! (Oh no! Not Slang)
Diligence is a word you don’t hear much any more. Usually, when someone wants you to be diligent they’ll say something like; “crank it up a notch,” “get the lead out,” “knuckle down,” “do your darnedest,” or “give it your best shot.” However you say it, it means to be diligent.
Today’s text is from 2 Timothy 4:9; “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me.”
Sure, it’s King James English, but the message is so poetically urgent, -“Hurry!”
When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, Paul was a prisoner of Nero in Rome and he had several reasons for needing haste:
- First, Demas, his helper, had chosen the world over the ministry to Paul and had left him.
- Second, Crescens had gone to Galatia and Titus had gone to establish the church in Dalmatia (present day Croatia). (verse 10). Only his doctor, Luke, was still with him.
- Paul was so desperate for help that he told Timothy to bring with him Mark (4:11) whom Paul had fired earlier (Acts 15:38-39). And with winter coming on him in his unheated prison cell, even in Rome, he desperately needed his cloak (coat); he wanted his books also, but especially the parchments (4:13 ).
The parchments were probably letters he cherished or needed, or they could have been the paper he used for writing his own epistles. BUT THE WORD DILIGENCE is key. There is an urgency in its use, “I need you here.” “Make an earnest effort”, “give it your best shot”, -yes, even in modern slang, it would have been “snap to it,” or “do your darndest”. What could provoke us to hurry our effort or do our darndest? Perhaps the following would:
- The worth of the person asking the favor of us
- The severity of the need
- Our own conscientiousness
The Worth of the Person asking the favor of us
For the Christian, any one or all three are reasons for doing our best. Why? He or she is instructed by Scripture, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Paul even instructed Christian slaves to: “be obedient to those who are your physical masters, having respect for them and eager concern to please them, in singleness of motive and with all your heart, as [service] to Christ [Himself]…rendering service readily with good will, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Ephesians 6:5, 7, Amplified Bible).
In a modern setting, Paul would be saying, “do a good job for your employer because the person for whom you are really working is God, the Owner of all things – including your boss’s company. Further, you will be rewarded according to your attitude toward your job as much as what you produce in it.
The severity of the need.
And what is that to us believers? The pagan world desperately needs to see that life matters, that there is a larger reason for serving well, for living well, — we are serving God for eternal reasons.
Our own conscientiousness
The way we do our job – with diligence – really tells the world what we think of our lives, –and theirs.
Diligent people say with their actions and attitude that, “What I’m doing matters, – what you’re doing matters. There’s a purpose to it all, even when known only to God.”
DILIGENCE SAYS THAT. So, always give it your best shot, crank it up a notch, get the lead out, knuckle down, and do your darnedest. (Even if you don’t use slang).
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.