5-Minute Bible Studies
DILIGENCE– A Five Minute Study
By Margaret Garner
Senior Associate, Worldwide Discipleship Association, Fayetteville, GA
Two Examples of Diligence:
The Proverbs 31 Woman and Epaphras — Colossians 4:12-13
God values diligence in His people, as evidenced by the numerous references to diligence in the book of Proverbs. Here are a few examples:
- Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. (12:24)
- All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. (14:2)3
- The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. (13:4)
TWO EXAMPLES OF DILIGENCE
The Proverbs 31 Woman
In the last chapter of Proverbs, King Lemuel describes a godly woman whose life is characterized by diligence as well as other qualities. This is a description of a type of woman and not necessarily a specific individual. Many of the descriptors refer directly to her investment of her time and energies.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. (13)
She gets up while it is still dark…(15)
She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (17)
She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (27)
There are many other people in Scripture who exhibit diligence. One such person is Epaphras. Epaphras is mentioned only two times in Scripture. He probably started the church in Colossae. At the end of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he writes this about Epaphras:
Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. (4:12-13)
In these two brief sentences the diligence of Epaphras, including his diligence in prayer, was spoken of twice. He did not just pray, but he “always wrestled in prayer”. And what is there that requires more work, focus and energy than prayer?! Paul also testified that Epaphras was “working hard” for the believers at the young churches. Epaphras’ diligence was making an eternal difference in the lives of believers in that time!
DILIGENCE IN OUR LIVES
Diligence needs to be more than a theoretical concept we discuss. For it to become an ingrained character quality it must be practiced daily. That means we must will and strive to be diligent. Some practical evidences of diligence we can see in our lives today are seen in the following “I will” statements:
- I will finish my projects.
- I will do a job right.
- I will follow instructions.
- I will concentrate on my work.
- I will not be lazy.
Divide into pairs and discuss:
- Think of a person you know who is diligent. Describe what you observe in this person that causes you to call them diligent.
- What are some of the benefits of being diligent?
(Some possible answers: pleases God, thoughtful and considerate of others, meets deadlines, good team player)
- What factors in our lives sometimes make it difficult to be diligent?
(Some possible answers: Schedule too busy, our culture wants “instant” results, too many distractions—TV, videos, etc., )
DILIGENCE IN MY LIFE THIS WEEK
Spend a few minutes in personal reflection:
- How has a lack of diligence negatively affected your life in the past month? (It can be your own lack of diligence or another person’s lack of diligence.)
- If it was your lack of diligence, what will you do to remedy the situation? Who will help you?
- If it was not your lack of diligence, reflect on the “I will” statements. Which one is the easiest for you to follow? Which one is the most difficult? Why? What will you do to improve? Who will help you?
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.