"And Ruth, the Moabitess said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.'"
Ruth 2: 2, New International Version
"How to Live Your Life" by Two Women Who Knew What They Were Talking About!
5 Characteristics of Ruth - The Diligent Daughter- Part III
"Diligent" Marked by persevering, painstaking effort. Constant in application and attention.
"Patience and diligence, like faith, remove mountains."
How do I apply the word "diligence" to the activities of my life?
What does it mean to me to be a "diligent" person?
"(She) who labors diligently need never despair."
Menander of Athens
"Each day is God's gift. It's all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily!
Ecclesiastes 9: 9,10, The Message
Not long ago, a dear friend was telling me about some challenges she was facing at her job. It seems that one of her co-workers, someone she had to work with directly, did not have the same work-ethic as my friend. In fact, this particular employee always did as little as possible and then, if anything went wrong, this person was quick to point the finger at others.
From the notes I receive each day, I know my friend is not alone. I think all of us have faced challenges in our work, where the characteristic of "diligence" is not high on the priority list of some individuals.
This was not the case with God's daughter, Ruth. The fact is that in Israelite society, God had instructed His children to take care of the widows and orphans - heavenly advice that applies to us today. Having found this out, Ruth could have waited around to see who would show-up to "take care" of Naomi and herself. Instead, the very first thing Ruth did after arriving in Bethlehem was to find work - a job -- where she toiled, as the Bible notes, from morning to night, gathering food for her family.
As an aside, if you don't think gleaning was hard work, then you need to speak with individuals who have gleaned for Food Banks. The quality of "diligence" is woven into the fiber of the hearts of every person who labors all day in the hot sun to put meals on the table for their family.
The Bible even tells us that Boaz noticed the way Ruth diligently worked in the field - and her hard work paid off, for she was rewarded with extra supplies of grain.
I wish I could promise you that on earth, our diligence in our work always has an end result like the one in Ruth's life. Sometimes it does! I know in one of my first jobs, I worked harder and longer hours than anyone around me and when a new job was created that needed to be filled, I was able to move into the position because I had proved to my superiors I could be trusted.
However, there have also been times when I worked extremely hard, only to have another try to take credit for my projects or what's worse, attempt to sabotage my work.
As diligent daughters and sons of God, we need continually to remind ourselves, and those who we can encourage, that the characteristic of diligence is found in those who never forget that all we do is done for God. Whether I'm sweeping my kitchen floor or running some big corporation, I like to remind myself that "whatsoever my hand finds to do, I should do it with all my might." Why? Because my diligence is rewarded by a Father who is interested in every task I perform. He doesn't love just the "big" shots - He loves all of us "little" shots as well, who everyday are quietly following His purpose in our lives and doing the work before us as though we were working for God, because we really are.
"Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love;
Take my feet, and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee."
Frances Ridley Havergal
"This morning, Lord,
these hands planted silver beets,
fed chicks ,children, cat, sparrows,
and skimmed pips off a batch of plum jam.
This morning, like any other day,
there were beds to make, washing to be done,
and a patch sewn on the knee of a child's jeans.
This afternoon, Lord,
one of these hands got a blister from the ax handle
and the other, a splinter from kindling wood,
but the afternoon brought deeper pain
when my hands closed tight to hide anxiety
then later opened to brush away tears
before anyone could notice.
It's been a day of ups and downs
with not much quiet in between.
Now, this evening, Lord,
I come forward to receive You
and hold out these hands like a cup
for the bread of Your sacred body.
And I discover
that as You bless my hands with Your presence,
so you bless all their efforts.
All the planting, baking, cleaning, mending,
everything touched, everything tended,
all my fears and tears, my loving, my hurting,
the whole up-and-down day, Lord,
is suddenly Eucharist."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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