I read of a preacher recently who used to speak to young people about the importance of gaining “blanket victory”. The preacher was not referring to total victory, but rather, to victory over the tendency to waste away the day in bed. His point was to remind young people of getting up at a reasonable time and getting on with the business of the day in order to accomplish anything worthwhile. He made the point that if one couldn’t get victory over their blankets, then it was unlikely they could get victory over other areas of their life for lack of self-control.
It was the commentator Matthew Henry that said, “The devil visits idle men with his temptations. God visits industrious men with His favors.” In our reading in Proverbs we are reminded of the value of diligence and the curse of slothfulness in one’s life. Proverbs 12:24 & 27 read, “The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute…The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” God rewards diligence. These verses make it clear that the man who is diligent is the one who will achieve something in this life. However, the lazy man lacks the self-control to rule over himself and is, therefore, ruled by others. In other words, the diligent rise to the top while the slothful sink to the bottom. In v. 27, we find a rather humorous illustration of a slothful man who made the effort to hunt for wild game, yet was too lazy to finish the job of cooking it so that he could enjoy it on his dinner plate.
This principle of diligence has been seen in the lives of many people who seemed to face insurmountable odds, yet rose to the occasion, persevered through difficulty, and overcame what seemed to be an obstacle. There are many in our nation’s history with “rags to riches” stories of how diligence brought them out of poverty.
As Christians, however, our reason for diligence is not material gain. It is not to fulfill the “American Dream” or to “Keep up with the Joneses”. It is not for the building of our own “earthly kingdom”. Rather, the principle of diligence in the life of a Christian ought to find itself in the context of a life being lived out for the glory of God. It is realizing that God expects my daily responsibilities to be done “…heartily, as to the LORD, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). When we realize that all we have been given to do on earth is for the advancement of His glory, it makes the most mundane jobs fulfilling. For such a realization reminds us that every work is truly worship when done for His glory. And when we realize the worship we are offering up everyday, it should cause us to get out of bed and work hard!