Working Diligently

By Jim Odens

Jim Odens is a pastor in Minnesota, and the below post is an excerpt from a recent sermon in a series from Ecclesiastes. The entire recording is available online, as well.

In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:6

The uncertainty about which ventures we pursue will prosper and which ventures will fail should lead us to diligently apply ourselves to every venture and every opportunity God gives us.

There is no place for paralysis from fear of circumstances and possibilities in the life of a person who truly fears the Lord. There is also no place for inactivity because of laziness and sloth.

Rather, in the fear of the Lord there is great motivation to be persistently, actively abounding in our stewardship of the time, energy, money and other resources He has given us to use for His glory. It may be that some of our efforts will succeed more than others, but that is good reason to give ourselves to sowing both morning & evening! If what we sow in the morning does not bear much fruit, perhaps what we sow in the evening will. Or vice versa. Or perhaps both will succeed!

When we have acted patiently, prudently, yieldedly & diligently, we can leave the outcome in the Lord’s hands & be content with what He does.

Therefore, take advantage of every moment of every day the Lord gives you to trust Him, love Him, serve Him, worship Him, proclaim Him, obey Him in every aspect of your life (home, church, work, school, neighborhood, etc.) . . .

Don’t be hindered by concern about how it will turn out (for like the growth of the seeds sown in the ground, how things turn out is in the Lord’s hands). Instead do all you can in the Lord’s name, trusting that whatever He wants to do with your work is His will for His all-wise purposes.

Created to Serve

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14

God has set His children free! Glorious truth that is!

But that freedom is not the freedom of an unsupervised toddler, free to touch and play and wander at will. We as Christians are called to use our liberty for love. Our life’s purpose of loving God and loving our neighbor will involve serving each other — not just doing whatever we want.

We can serve in so many ways. It will take wisdom to know how to serve each day, since the opportunities are endless.

  • Serve your husband by running the two errands he asked, instead of getting all your tasks for the day done before saying, “Oops, I just didn’t get to that. Maybe another day.”
  • Serve your neighbor by taking the time to stop and touch base for a few minutes, even though your coffee got cold.
  • Serve your cousin’s grandmother by popping by the nursing home for cheery visits.
  • Serve your neighbor by attending the fundraising banquet at the end of a long day to encourage the staff and financially support a good cause, if you are able.
  • Serve the body of Christ by teaching children and young people the precious truths of Scripture.
  • Serve your children by encouraging their walk with the Lord and growth in godliness, rather than only harping on the obvious failures.
  • Serve a young mother by doing her laundry or cleaning her kitchen one day.
  • Serve a missionary through regular notes of encouragement.
  • Serve your pastor by listening to and carefully considering his counsel.

May God strengthen us to fulfill our purpose as we walk in freedom today.