As our lives progress, our priorities change. Different things consume our time and our interests as we transition from childhood into our teenage years into our college years into becoming husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. Over time, our focus drifts away from self and eventually upon others, on friends, on loved ones, on children, on family; and, as we grow from serving self to serving others, it helps us understand what it is to live a life of service unto God.
We reach a point in our lives when we start building a faithful foundation for another, and that, in turn, causes us to look more carefully at our own faith, how we live, how we spend our time. Ephesians 5:15-17 admonishes us to be careful with the way we walk and how we use our time, and we know our time is limited. James 4:14-15 calls our lives a vapor. It passes away quickly as do the other things of the world in I John 2:15.
Idleness Versus Diligence
Proverbs 19:21 remind us that man’s plans come and go, but God’s purpose is everlasting. He never stops to relax His work. Proverbs 6:6-11 calls on us to be like ants in our lives, not allowing laziness to creep in. Proverbs 24:30-34 warns us that poverty follows closely at the heels of inactivity. Finally, Proverbs 21:25 calls laxity a path to death, and this death is just as likely to be spiritual as physical.
Diligence is the answer to slothfulness. Proverbs 10:4-5 and 12:24-27 extol the benefits of industrious living. Chapter 13:4 says the soul of the diligent is made content, and Proverbs 4:23 calls upon us to guard our hearts with care and diligence, seeing it as our source of eternal life. This takes time, and it takes effort, but the work of diligent living drives idleness and sin from our attitudes and activities.
Diligence in Our Lives
We can work harder to be diligent in our home lives, managing our time and our priorities as a household. What kind of needs and growth do we plan for? What decisions consume the most of our time? Who do we look to for personal guidance or to guide our children? We all serve as spiritual leaders and examples in our families, and we must be diligent in how we spend our time with our families.
This diligence spills over into our work lives, in our reliability, in our career decisions, in the example we set for those around us. What kind of relationships do we build at work? What do our coworkers, our employers, our employees see in us? Christians in the workplace will look different from others, and we must be careful not to have the same priorities that the world often models for us.
God tells us we should be learning and teaching His word. II Timothy, Mark 6:15, II Timothy 4, John 13, Philippians 1 – these chapters and more contain verses reminding us that we should be spending time learning God’s word and then sharing that word with others. This affects how we spend time with out family, how we spend time with our jobs. It informs the way we behave around our family, friends, and coworkers. It should change the way we look at those around us, seeing them as those who can teach us or who need mentoring themselves.
It’s very easy to get bogged down in the countless details of this life, but our focus should be first and foremost upon God. Our time upon this world is short, sometimes driving us to an almost frenetic pace of living. In His sermon on the mount, though, Jesus challenges us to look beyond the rapid events of this life to look forward to eternity. How we spend our time now, the priorities we have, the activities we choose, will determine how we spend eternity.
Every day is an opportunity to focus on God and do more in His service, to grow spiritually and to help others grow spiritually. God created us for good works, and, as followers of God, His teachings should permeate every moment of our lives. Our time should be spent reflecting His grace, mercy, and goodness in our lives, putting Him first in all things and at all times.
lesson by Alan Miller