Recently, I wrote a quick devotional thought about Pride and Humility, borrowing the biblical metaphor and likening them to two women with very distinct characteristics. One a groupie and the other a faithful wife, married to Wisdom. Today, I saw another interesting pair in the book of Proverbs that I believe warrants similar attention. Please allow me to introduce Diligence and Haste.
Tortoise and hare stuff, right here. With Diligence playing the part of the tortoise. Sporting a cumbersome but protective shell that he might even nickname, Prudence.
O long time ago, an extremely wise Jewish King wrote that the thoughts of the diligent, “tend only to plenteousness.”
Slow and steady, just like the tortoise. The diligent seem to have a one track mind.
At first glance it appears that David’s most famous son wants us to know that Diligence sees dollar signs or that greed drives him to press on.
But that’s really not the case. Again, like the tortoise, Diligence teaches us that we should concentrate on the task at hand. One foot in front of the other. Slow and steady. Consistent. For the diligent, the task is running the race, not necessarily winning it. He’s only competing against himself. He focuses on what he can control, his faithfulness; rather than what he can’t control, his opponent’s quickness.
In the 24-hour news cycle, Twitter mind-set day and age, diligence has been traded for haste and passed over by ease. Most people no longer see dedication to a project and faithfulness as virtues. Today, in the world’s eye, they’re seen more as albatrosses that hold men back.
But, look one more time at what the Bible says about those who practice diligence. It teaches that their thoughts “tend only to plenteousness.” They swing or gravitate to abundance.
Here’s how I see it. You keep taking things one step at a time, you keep doing your job with enthusiasm and commitment and one day you’ll see the reward of your labor. The best part about it? The adjective describing this reward. Plenteous.
A bunch. More than you need.
Now, to the flip side. The end of Solomon’s proverb goes like this, “but of every one that is hasty only to want.”
And now, at the starting line, Haste the Hare!!!
The thoughts of the hasty only end at thirst. Desire. Yearning. Just like the hare who wishes that he would have won the race. Overconfident and dressed in sloppiness, those that rush through tasks never have the satisfaction of the job well done. Neither do they experience the joy of the race itself. Their metaphorical ADHD curses them to always having that nagging void accompanied by regret.
At the end of the race the hare’s only ribbon is the regret of not having won the race.
So, slow down today. Have a plan. Execute it diligently.
Don’t approach your job or ministry or marriage or any other relationship like a kid cleaning his room. Be diligent and purposeful, no matter how long it takes.
Shun hastiness. Focus. Be the tortoise, not the hare.