“take care of your responsibilities and be diligent in your business and you will have more than enough – an abundance of food, clothing and plenty for your household.”
– proverbs 27:25-27 (the passion translation)
i read this verse some days back and it simultaneously challenged me and deeply encouraged me. these words jump out to me : “take care…be diligent…and you will have more than enough – an abundance…” you WILL have. not a hope or a maybe – a fact. a sure possibility.
so many times we want to ask for more or new or what that other person has been given – but this verse clearly says the key to abundance and more than enough is in CARE and DILIGENCE.
my husband and i have a small veggie garden – it is right outside our bedroom window, and my side of the bed is next to the window. so every morning, when i wake up, the first thing i usually see is my garden. right now, some of what we are growing is broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, sukuma wiki (similar to kale), spinach, squash, peppers, parsley, dhania, onions, spring onions, mango, mulberries…but do you know what we have NOT planted and are NOT growing, yet it never fails to surprise me, no matter how many times i see it? weeds. i often ask my husband, “who came and planted all these weeds?!” no matter how many times they are removed, they persistently come back! they look and feel so intentional – like someone put them there on purpose! yet weeds grow and thrive in inactivity.
see, it’s easy to think that doing nothing = gaining nothing. but that’s not usually true. while i am busy ignoring my garden out of busy-ness or laziness, there IS something happening – bugs are moving in and making homes in my broccoli and mold is growing on my squash and my tomatoes are attracting birds that will ruin them and the weeds…oh, the weeds! they grow at an astonishing rate and choke out the produce. my doing nothing does NOT leave the status quo! it actually means more work for me in the end!
i can look at my garden and wish that i had this, that or the other… but the REALITY is that what my garden needs for it to produce abundance is…well, work.
what we often see as lack is usually just mismanagement. i’m not just talking about my tomato plants – when i see lack or “not enough” in my marriage, my money, my health, my walk with Christ, my friendships – i can almost always guarantee it boils down to a lack of care. a lack of diligence. not managing well what i already have.
the word “diligence” means “careful and persistent work or effort, done in a careful and detailed way.”
the word “persistent” means “continuing firmly or obstinately in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.”
to be diligent requires persistent work – that means, i am doing the work, no matter the difficulty or opposition. continuing in the work – not a one time thing that i am expecting great results in – continuing, despite the opposition. and there WILL BE opposition. stubborn opposition! there will be weeds and bugs trying to invade the garden – and for those weeds and bugs to make their home in my hard work, all i have to do is nothing. if i want health and growth and abundance and more than enough, i have to choose to be more obstinate about my harvest than the weeds are!
those weeds are not there by intention (as in, no one sowed the seeds and put them there on purpose)… rather, weeds thrive by LACK of intentionality. when i let myself neglect my “garden,” then weeds will grow and bugs will come.
“despite their desires, the lazy will come to ruin, for their hands refuse to work.”
– proverbs 21:25 (new living translation)
i can look at my garden and wish and pray and hope and complain and rant and rave and sulk and compare…. but NONE OF THAT will bring abundance. my desire for a harvest is not enough – it is a starting place, a motivation, but desire does not grow things. work does. intentionality does. care does. diligence does.
are you working towards your desires? are you being intentional about DAILY removing those stubborn weeds that are trying to choke out the life you are busy trying to nurture? are you pruning? are you noticing? are you being care-full and committed to those areas you desperately want to see change?
all the areas you want to see more and enough and abundance – that potential is unleashed by the care and diligence you give.
can i encourage you today that the strength, grace, energy, wisdom, strategy, tools and counsel to make every area of your garden thrive and grow and have MORE than enough – God has given those to you! and if you ever feel yourself lacking or running short, you simply ask God to fill you afresh! He is a Great Gardener, after all… (see john 15:1) He will give you all you need and fill you with all you might lack.
in your marriage and with your kids and as a team leader or ministry leader and in your friendships and workplace and in your health and your wealth, in your process and in your season……..
“work hard and you’ll have all you desire…” – proverbs 28:19 (the passion translation)