Blessed are the Diligent
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you, your cattle, and your animals may drink."- II Kings 3:16-17
Have you ever been enamored by a house in your neighborhood? Maybe it's the view they have from their front-yard or balcony; the color choices that complement each other so beautifully; how well kept the lawn or garden is; or even the layout/size of the living space. Well, there is one house in my neighborhood that has my attention whenever I drive by it. Yet, it has nothing to do with the exterior design or delightful aesthetics of the home. What captures my eye on that particular block is how the owner is always in the garage working on refurbishing his classic car. No matter if the man is sanding, waxing, reupholstering, or working on the table saw, I have yet to see a time where the garage door is not open, the light is not on, and the owner is not diligently attending to his labor of love.
As I try to imagine how many hours, how many details, and how much money has gone into this automobile endeavor, I began to think about how important it is for us to live out faith in a devoted and diligent manner. As I looked up the definition to the word DILIGENT, I came across a few impressive and challenging descriptions:
"characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort"- Webster's Dictionary
"constant in effort to accomplish something"- Dictionary.com
"having or showing care and conscientiousness in one's works or duties"- Oxford Dictionaries
"done in a careful and detailed way"- Cambridge Dictionary
The above scripture shows how those who diligent seek and follow the Lord are rewarded by His perfect answer. The story in II Kings 3 is about a time when the king of Moab revolts against the king of Israel (Joram). In his distress over the unexpected opposition being faced, King Joram calls for assistance from Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. While they were navigating their battle plans, they encountered another dilemma: they had run out of water for their army and animals. It is at this crisis and crossroads that they call for the prophet Elisha to inquire of the Lord for direction and intervention. It is at this moment that the Lord directs them to dig holes in the ground because He is about to fill the valley with water! The Lord's command is met by a call to action which leads to a next day overflow that we see in II Kings 3:20, "The next morning, about the time for offering the sacrifice, there it was--water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water."
One important lesson to take away from this story is that in order for us to receive the Lord's answer, we must be diligent to receive and respond to His instruction. God was going to wonderfully provide water for the people, but they had to prepare for the divine work He would do with a devoted work of their own (digging holes). I wonder at times if our lack of complete attention and obedient action to the Lord's voice causes there to be a delay, a blockage, and even breakdown to the areas of our lives that need Him to move most? How do we prepare our hearts to be ready to receive God's love, truth, will, and power? How do we make room for the Lord to work and the Holy Spirit to dwell in us? Do we empty out the junk? Do we wait diligently for the rain to come? The Scriptures calls each of us to live out our faith with diligence.
Proverbs 21:5- "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
Hebrews 6:11-12- "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."
I Timothy 4:13, 15- "Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching...Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress."
As I think more about this idea of being diligent, something else caught my attention. It was not a house on a particular street in Newbury Park, rather it was certain child in the church last Sunday. Prior to the services, as the worship team was preparing and rehearsing the songs that would be used to help usher us into God's holy presence and declare His glorious praise, a young boy stood at attention and in adoration (even rocking back and forth) as the worship filled the room. This sight not only caught my attention, but moved my heart so deeply that I needed to share this beautiful moment with one of his parents. As I shared what I witnessed from the young man, the parent explained how he had thought that service had started. Wow, what a great definition of diligence! May we each become like that boy...that we would worship, pray, read the Bible, and put our faith into action, way prior to and way more frequently than just a Sunday service. May we each have our hearts opened, our minds enlightened, and our faith stirred in such a way that we are diligent in our seeking, trusting, and following the Lord.