July 2
What's the Point?
For reading & meditation - Proverbs 21
"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." (v.5)

Today we ask ourselves: What is the point of diligence? Why keep persevering in a task? I'll tell you why. It is because it is in the arena of perseverance that true character is forged out, shaped, tempered and polished. It is in the daily grind that the character of Jesus is given the maximum opportunity to be reproduced in us, replacing what Charles Swindoll calls that "thin, fragile internal theology with a tough reliable set of convictions that enable us to handle life rather than escape from it." Listen to how the apostle Paul puts it in Romans 5:3-4: "We also rejoice in our sufferings, [why?] because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Because life is a task, we need strength to face it, not speed to escape from it. When the foundations shake beneath our feet, when Christian friends, even leaders, fall into immorality, when the anchor points of civilization disappear, when the bottom drops out and brutal blows push us up against the ropes and pound the very life out of us, we need what diligence and perseverance offer us - willingness to face whatever comes, determination to stand firm, knowing that Christ is not just with us but in us, insight to see the Lord's hand in everything and character enough to continue. Without diligence, we will stumble and fall. With it, we will survive and conquer. The astute of this world are wise enough to recognize that no advances can be made in life without diligence. How much more ought we, who name the Name of Christ and have Him living within us, to recognize this also?
O God, help me see that I am at grips with the raw materials of human living. Out of them I must fashion the important quality of diligence. Help me never to forget that the rewards are much more than the cost. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

For Further Study
1. What were some of the obstacles Paul had to face?
2. What is the reward of those who persevere?