“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” ~ Proverbs 6:6-8 NIV

While there are many words I could use to describe myself, sluggard is not one I’d put on the list. Yet, how many times have I felt sluggish or lazy or acted like a slacker? Not to suggest that the occasional time of rest or vacation isn’t worthwhile, but there are days where I look at my to-do list of responsibilities and wish I could roll over in bed.

This week’s character quality is diligence. Investing all my energy to complete the task assigned to me. Persistent work. Steady and constant effort.

The ant is diligent. It doesn’t wait for someone else to tell it what to do or only take action when a supervisor is present. Ants know what needs to be done (gathering food) and they do it, often approaching tasks with a stubborn persistence and effort that makes me ashamed.

Diligence requires having a task and knowing how to accomplish it. When I’m overwhelmed by the enormity or complexity of what I need to do, I often find myself stalled and finding excuses to delay working on it. So diligence includes taking the time to break down the task into smaller steps or goals and making sure I have the necessary tools.

Once I have a plan, diligence takes the first step … and then the next … and the one after that. All without a boss (or mother) standing by to keep me accountable to get my work done.

So, this week I’m considering the ant and renewing my efforts to complete the tasks assigned to me. A case to finish at work. Two birthday parties to plan. Travel arrangements to finalize. Chapters to critique for a friend. Missions celebration planning meetings. Basketball team carpool to arrange. This blog to write and a novel to polish.

At this rate, it might just take all my energy. But that’s what diligence is.

What about you? What tasks have been assigned to you? Do you tend toward diligence or sluggishness? Why? Any tips for the weary?

Character Matters – Diligence
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