Friday, 15 November 2013
….not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; Romans 12:11
The list of admonitions concerning our Christian service continues with “not lagging in diligence.” This is stated in the negative, showing us what not to do. We are then to assume the opposite and to be diligent. His use of “lagging” indicates slothfulness or idleness. Instead of hoping for opportunity and then ignoring it when it does come about, we are to seek out opportunities. If we are so blessed as to have them show up at the door, we are to be diligent in accepting what has come our way.
A great example of this is witnessing. How many times do we hear the comment that the chance to witness never comes about? Rather, we need to seek opportunities with diligence and then follow though with them. Likewise, there are many around us who subtlety let us know they want to know why we believe the things that we do believe concerning Jesus. When will we actually respond to those hints?
This concept Paul is speaking of surely applies to all types of work, not just ministerial jobs. If we are slothful in our regular employ, who will want to know about our faith? This goes hand in hand with what Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 9:10 –
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
One aspect of life will affect all other aspects of life. Being slothful in one area will inevitably lead to sloth in another. Next, in contrast to lagging in diligence, we are instructed to be “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” The word here for “fervent” is used frequently when speaking of boiling something. Paul is telling us to be “boiling with spirit” in what we do. When water or some other liquid is heated, eventually it will start to bubble and then the bubbling will intensify until it boils. This concept is transferable to our work ethic and emotions. We should be so moved in our service to the Lord that we boil over in the exercise of our duties.
Life application: If we want to get ahead in our job, we work our hardest, put forth diligence in our duties, and look for and pursue opportunities which can further the cause of our employer. If we put this type of attention into our earthly employ, how much more should we do so for our heavenly Lord and the furtherance of His kingdom?
Gracious God, far too often I ask for things that will make my life easier or somehow benefit me. How much more then should I ask for strength and ability which will benefit the increase of Your kingdom? Give me a heart for Your word, a desire to speak to the lost, and the zeal to work tirelessly for the advancement of the gospel. And Lord, may I never slow down when you grace me with these things. Amen.