Diligence is a characteristic that centers on action. Diligence understands the equation that time and energy (work) equal productivity. Diligence is an aspect of wisdom.
Enemies of Diligence
Slacker – Proverbs 10:4
- He refuses to work because he likes to live in the moment. No prudence or aforethought.
- 10:5 tells you the slacker avoids preparation for the future
- Ignoring the inevitable health problems or inability to work because “God will take care of it” is presumption, not faith. Your grandma called it savings for a “rainy day”. You know the rainy day is coming should the Lord tarry so prepare.
Slothful – Proverbs 12:24, 27
- He refuses to work because he does not care about what he has.
- To the diligent, his substance is precious. He counts everything a blessing. He considers himself a steward of what he has.
- Remember that you are a steward of your money, your money is not your master. So here are some statements to see if money is controlling you.
- I was late to an appointment because I was trying to clear up a credit problem, or overdraft fees at the bank.
- I have had trouble getting to sleep because of money.
- I spent more than three hours trying to balance my checkbook last month.
- I have made a significant purchase of $300 or more that my spouse doesn’t know about yet.
- My spouse is mad at me because I made a significant purchase without telling him/her.
- I didn’t answer my phone because I thought it was a debt collector.
- My spouse and I fight frequently about finances.
- If you’re forced into making decisions or forced into behavior and out of the will of God because of money, then it controls you. No man can serve two masters… You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24). God won’t bless your mess.
- You need to think of your money as God’s money. It’s easier to give God’s money and harder to waste God’s money when you know an account will have to be given for it.
- The truth in verse 24 says because he does not care about his own blessings, they will be taken away from him by someone else.
- It was the case in Israel on a national scale
Sluggard – Proverbs 13:4, 11
- He refuses to work because he has never associated labour with increase.
- See the contrasting movement of wealth; Diminished when gotten by vanity as opposed to Increased when gotten by labour.
Hasty – Proverbs 21:5
- He refuses to wait because he has never associated patience with increase.
- Get rich quick pyramid schemes
- Cash advances for low income people
- Playing the lotto
- Debt as a tool to create prosperity
- Buy this CD and join this group and you’ll get rich
Diligence in Action
Use a Budget (much of this is from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace)
- Give every dollar a name. Start with your income and on paper use every dollar back to zero. The point is you’re going to tell every dollar where to go.
- Give it three to four months to start working. It won’t be perfect the first time you do it.
- Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.
- Over-fund your groceries category. Most people underfund that category.
- Husbands (if applicable) need to loosen up and quit using the budget as a whipping tool on their wives.
- Spouses need to do the budget together.
- Use cash
- When it comes to spending you can’t outearn foolishness according to Proverbs 21:20. If making the ends meet is hard to do you want to bring the ends closer together.
Plan for the “Rainy Day”
- Emergency fund (Dave Ramsey says start with $1000)
- Insurance on both spouses. Most often think just the husband, but if your wife dies and you have children you’ll be paying someone to do all the things she did.
- Make a will
- Save six months worth of expenses
- Plan for retirement or when you cannot work anymore
Pay off your debt
- The borrower is servant to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7)
- Pay off your debt and don’t get back in debt.
- If you are heading into more debt as opposed to heading out of debt, you’re going in the wrong direction.
Give to God first, not leftovers
- Stewardship. This says you understand where your blessings come from. It is he that giveth thee power to get wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:18)
- Firstfruits, not leftovers.