Diligence

The word diligent is defined as, “Characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks”. How can we live diligently? We can start by paying attention. The social movements that are occurring today are forcing people to pay attention; some for the first time. The racial issues that are being brought into focus are not new issues; we’ve simply ignored them for years (or forever). Many people are uncomfortable because the topic of racial inequality isn’t going away. They would rather focus on the physical damage rather than address the underlying cause. The issue will take perseverance to create change.

At work, we often pay attention to the details and generally try not to let things fall through the cracks; that’s diligence. The communities that we live in depend on all of us paying attention to the details: while driving, interacting with each other and maintaining an orderly society. Rules and laws provide the structure of a society that allows billions of people to live together.

Diligence also requires accountability; you must ensure you are meeting your obligations. We are responsible for each other and accountable to one another for our actions. Too often we see people going through life paying attention to only themselves and what they are doing. In the firehouse we used to call these types of people “one way’s”. They had only one way of thinking and it was all about their needs. We are all leaders in our lives no matter our position. As parents, we lead our families, as adults we lead children, as Christians we lead through our example. Regardless of your place of life you are a leader, so provide leadership diligently.

“If a man’s gift is … leadership, let him govern diligently…” Romans 12:6, 8

As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, if we are to lead, we must do it diligently. We must pay attention to the small things; the devil is in the details. It is easy to obey the straightforward commandments like not stealing or killing but what about the “details” of the other commandments; like not being jealous of what others have or putting other activities before worship with God, especially during football season.

Who is keeping you accountable for what is happening in your life? Confess your sin, give it to the Lord, repent and turn toward God. The good news is that Jesus took it all upon himself on the cross for us. Be diligent in your daily study and time with the Lord, it will make leading much easier. We often do not seek Christian leadership role models in our lives. Whether you have chosen it or not, God has chosen you to be an example for others. Do you carry out your Christian duties with care and perseverance? You don’t have to be the designated leader to have people follow you, but you do have to be aware that people will follow you, good and bad, so why not be better prepared?  You’ll be rewarded in many ways.

Work /Life Balance

The other day I received a daily inspirational e-mail that shared this quote from the book “Wisdom of Wolves”: “Don’t get so busy making a living that you don’t know what you are living for.” Ironically, it came into my inbox while we were in Las Vegas for a few days of vacation. I was trying to take a few “days off” from the many hats that I wear but found myself checking e-mails and on few occasions, replying to some. I became busy making a living again and was sucked into working, even on “vacation”. Companies and their employees are always trying to find that work/life balance where everyone can have their cake and eat it too. As a matter of fact, the last thing I did before shutting down my computer on Tuesday was write a statement of the Vision of a fire district we are working with that said “We recognize the importance of balancing individual, family, and organizational growth and needs.” It was important to this client that they stated this as a value of the organization. How important is it in your life? What are you living for? It is easy to forget that in the end, you can’t take it with you. I realized during this trip that it wasn’t important where I was and what we were doing; but whom I was doing it with – my wife. We have been together for 29 years this month (married 27yrs) and have an awesome family much of it while I was busy making a living. I didn’t need to drive 400 miles from home to enjoy her company; I just needed to take the time to be with her. It took a life-altering event four years ago to change my perspective on who was really in control and what was truly important in my life. Don’t seek a work/life balance; take time to make it.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5

Trust is a hard thing to build but an easy thing to loose. God has shown us that we can trust in Him. He has kept all of His promises and even proven His love for us through the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ. However, Satan is always at work and keeps planting seeds of doubt in minds. We question God’s love when things go bad, when tragedy strikes or we don’t get what we asked for. Satan has us questioning God’s trustworthiness. Our human nature makes it easy for us to doubt God’s word because we expect Him to do things our way, according to our plan or at least the way we want things to go. We should know by now that God will reveal His plan on His own timeline. We can strengthen our trust in God by reading the words He gave to us through the Bible, through regular worship and prayer, through good fellowship with other believers but most importantly; by having a relationship with Him. Spend time with God, it doesn’t matter where or when just lean on Him and “trust in the Lord with all your heart.”