(Posted March 23, 2015)
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15, bold added).
...of Dr. Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon who rose from poverty and a fatherless home in Detroit to become world famous. One of the recurring themes in his life story, recorded in a book and a movie entitled Gifted Hands, is that teachers and others would often open doors of opportunity to him when they saw his eagerness to learn and improve. Despite strong peer pressure toward mediocrity, Dr. Carson “dared to be diligent,” resulting in excellence in service to others.
Reflecting on Dr. Carson’s example (and that of many others), I realized that this scenario holds true in many ways in God’s Kingdom. While we can be rightly grateful for God’s unconditional love and mercy through Jesus bestowed upon each of us, many of God’s promises and provisions are conditional in nature. As we obediently, diligently, and proactively put forth our best effort, God in turn showers favor upon us in amazing and unforeseen ways.
No doubt you can think of many examples from your own life experience, or from the pages of the Bible. Here are a few “if-then” conditional promises from God’s Word:
Also from the pages of Scripture, I think of young Timothy. Admonished “not to despise his youth,” he was a model of one who’s diligent attitude as a learner and disciple engendered good will from his primary mentors: Paul, Barnabas, Lois (Mother), and Eunice (Grandmother). In the Book of II Timothy, Paul provides many exhortations towards diligence and obedience to the young man he regarded as a son, including the following: "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15, bold added).
Isn’t this great advice for all of us? From my earliest remembrances, I can still hear my own mother saying “Bobby, your father and I don’t expect you to be perfect. We just want you to do your best.” I heard this when I entered the first grade, and when I entered college. She was encouraging me to be diligent, to be a learner, to reach my full God-given potential in Jesus. My wise mother knew that “if I did my best, God would take care of the rest.”
May each of us seek to fulfill the conditions of God’s many rich promises on our behalf. May we “Dare to be Diligent.” Then we will experience the promises themselves -- to our edification, to the blessing of others, and to His Glory!
Put on your thinking cap.
Respectfully in Christ,
LU Institute for Military Resilience
PS: The next Institute for Military Resilience (IMR) Webinar entitled
“Marks of a Great Military Chaplain: