DILIGENCE – A Four-Minute Sermon
By Clyde C. Miller
Biographical Sermon on Diligence Based Upon the Life of William Booth
Diligence is constant activity or a faithful and continuing effort, so say some dictionaries. Let me begin with a quote from William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army—and note, I will also close this brief message by another quote from William Booth, so when you see his name again, this article will be over!! Booth said, “I will:
- rise every morning sufficiently early to have a few minutes, not less that five, in private prayer.
- avoid all the babbling and idle talking in which I have lately so sinfully indulged
- endeavor to conduct myself as a humble, meek, and zealous follower of the bleeding Lamb, and by serious conversation and warning endeavor to lead others to think of their immortal souls
- read no less than four chapters in God’s Word every day
- strive to live closer to God, and to seek after holiness of heart, and leave providential events with God, and
- read this over every day or at least twice a week. God help me, enable me to cultivate a spirit of self-denial and to yield myself a prisoner of love to the Redeemer of the world.”
[William Booth , at age 20, from Christian History Magazine, no. 26]
Now my friend, to accomplish those goals would require diligence. To review, diligence requires a sincere concentration to a task, an attentive care, a persistent effort.
We Christians should be known for our diligence. “Why?” you ask. Let me suggest two reasons.
- The Bible Encourages us to be Diligent
This is a great character trait, and the Bible has a lot to say about this.
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.” Prov. 4:23(KJV)… or,
“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live.” (Deut. 4:9)
This, too, could not be any clearer, that we have a huge responsibility to be diligent about the truth of Scripture.
“You have commanded us to keep your precepts diligently, (they are to be fully obeyed.)” (Ps. 119:4)
- Diligence keeps us from ineffective lives.
The Bible says that diligence can keep us from ineffective lives. Peter gives us a long list of Biblical traits and says if we keep them they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive, and he begins the paragraph by urging us to make every effort (or to be diligent) in seeking those traits. ( 2 Peter 1:5)
The well-known expression, “Keep on Keeping On” is illustrative of what we are saying. Winston Churchill, that great and eloquent speaker, was one time asked to address a British University. He made his way to the podium, looked at the expectant crowd and said, “Never Give up.” Then turned and sat downIllustration:
The well-known expression, “Keep on Keeping On” is illustrative of what we are saying. Winston Churchill, that great and eloquent speaker, was one time asked to address a British University. He made his way to the podium, looked at the expectant crowd and said, “Never Give up.” Then turned and sat down.
Diligence honors the Lord in His service.
Diligence keeps us looking unto Jesus.
Diligence encourages us to stick with it, through thick and thin.
Always remember that, “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) And with this in mind, let us determine to keep at it constantly and faithfully.
John Calvin did not like to waste a minute of his time. Even on his deathbed, his friends urged him to refrain from his labors. He replied, “What! Would you have the Lord find me idle when He comes?” [John Calvin-Christian History, no. 12]
Now back to General Booth. In another example of diligence he said,
“While a woman weeps, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a poor lost girl on the street, I’ll fight. I’ll fight. I’ll fight to the very end.” [Source unknown]
There is a call to the faithful, stay with it! Be diligent, in season and out. We hear today of so many public decisions, and we are to be grateful. But so often those decisions do not translate into changed and fruitful lives. Diligence will make us fruitful.
To be diligent in our tasks, to be diligent in doing what we know is right, to be diligent in our obedience to the Savior-this is our goal.
This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.