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This week for our theological article we will be looking at one of the seven cardinal virtues: diligence. The word itself derives from the Latin “diligentia” meaning “attentiveness” and “carefulness.” It is the practice of “careful and persistent work or effort.”
Needless to say, diligence is an extremely important quality in the Christian faith. It is where our faith begins and it is the key to fulfilling God’s purpose on earth. In Proverbs 10:4 it is written:
“Poor is he who works with a negligent hand. But the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
Likewise, it is written in Proverbs 21:5:
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage. But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”
And it’s not just true for religion, either. Diligence is a key aspect of social and economic success. People renowned for their diligence include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Clara Barton, J.D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Sam Walton, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey.
In other words, diligence is the key to achieving “impossible” goals and developing all other virtues. As human beings, we are required to toil for the things we have, to tend the fields, mine ore, spend the majority of our lives engaged in mental or physical labour. It is how we build our character and develop our sense of self-respect.
So, how do we become more diligent? Fortunately for us, Solomon has a few words of wisdom.
First, Solomon tells us to “wake up to reality.” We cannot be diligent while our minds are still stuck in the clouds.
Second, define your visions. If you expect to get somewhere, you have to know where you are going. Defining your goals, coming up with a mental picture of what you would like to achieve makes it significantly more likely you will be successful.
Third, effectively partner. You are not infallible, therefore you need to work with others who will offset your personal limitations.
Fourth, build your life upon the pursuit of wisdom. Use good judgement, knowledge, and experience as stepping-stones to success.