Our Labor of Love

#7 August 10,2021

Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. 

2 Peter 3:14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless;

1 Nephi 3:29 For he that diligently seeketh shall find;

DC 6:9b Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

If you are anything like me a string of scriptures can destroy my interest in what I am trying to learn, and I understand. I don’t blame you if you skipped over any of the scriptures offered, but for the sake of the offering try it again. Let them focus your attention on the one concept they all have in common. All deal with an attitude and an aptitude we seek to bring to our life of purpose in God and that is our ability to be diligent. 

The word diligent in one form or another is used 116 times in our reference scriptures. The act of being diligent called diligence is used another 53 times in God’s word. Apparently to God it is an important attitude/aptitude. But I have to be honest with you, until I started studying scripture, I was quite unaware the word existed let alone understand its meaning or its importance. This then is my offering to you, a word, its meaning, and how it applies to our life within the purpose of God. 

Diligence: from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible

Number: H4929 Hebrew: mishmar {mish-mawr’}

Derived from H8104; a guard; or an example 

H8104 Hebrew: shamar

Pronunciation: {shaw-mar’}

A primitive root; properly, to hedge about i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc.: –beward, be circumspect, take heed, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save 

Diligence: Oxford English Dictionary

1. Conscientiousness in paying proper attention to a task; giving the degree of care required in a given situation

2. Persevering determination to perform a task

 “his diligence won him quick promotions”

3. A diligent effort

“it is a job requiring serious diligence”

As you can see from the Hebrew “mishmar” and its root word “shamar”, diligence is an attitude we bring to the labor of the Kingdom. Even in our tongue, the word does not vary in its meaning. The scriptures had much to say about the application of this attitude to our labor. 

The attitude of diligence is not something that just happens. It is an attitude we are taught by the Spirit within that teaches us to revere above all else the need to labor for God, the ways of God, and the people of God. Many situations in life can inspire us to reach out to our friends and the world with the joy that is the Kingdom of God. Each finds its origin in our own particular relationship with God and the ways of God. Each reason testifies to the world of the God we serve, why we serve Him, and how we serve Him. Which one inspires you? Is it fear of retribution?

2 Peter3:14 wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless;

DC 75:5b Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repents and mends his ways.

Could it be an effort to prove to God who we are and how much we are worth to Him. Does our diligence seek to prove that we are humble stewards and worthy of great rewards in this life? 

1 Nephi 1:53-54 

1:53 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying, Blessed art thou Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou hast sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. 

1:54 And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.

Could it be that we are seeking nothing temporal but we seek instead God’s love and His recognition? 

DC 6:9b Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

If it is not for ourselves perhaps, it is a sense of responsibility that will encourage us to be diligent. We have a job to perform and the world is a hard place. Our efforts might be the only thing standing between mankind and hell. Will that inspire diligence within us?   

Moroni 9:6 And now my beloved son, notwithstanding their hardness, let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest out souls in the kingdom of God.

Brethren, it is all of these and none of these. Understand this bit of wisdom: God could perform all that deeds necessary to bring about His Kingdom here on earth, but he does not. He seeks for us to join Him in that labor. Does that make God lazy? No, but it does given us a clearer understanding of how God designed us and how well He knows us. God makes this promise to His children.

Genesis 6:66 And, behold, all things have their likeness; and all things are created and made to bear record of me; both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath, all things bear record of me.

God made a promise to us. He promises us that He will support our ability to choose with all the evidence we need to make an informed choice. He seeks that we come to Him willingly. Though there are times He seems to be the only choice we can make, He wants us to accept completely that this is the choice we want to make. He forces no one to serve.

DC 28:8c-8d

28:8c that the first shall be last, and the last shall be first in all things, whatsoever I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit; for by the power of my Spirit, created I them;

28:8d yea, all things both spiritual and temporal: firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again, firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work;

When I first read this passage of scripture I thought to myself, “Isn’t this a grand piece of incomprehensible garbage?” Over a period of time, many questions to God, and a lot of discussion that bordered on arguments, the meaning took on the beginnings of clarity. It has been said that the best sermons are those that are lived instead of just preached, and I find that to be amazingly true. It fulfills my need as a human to be taught something by both words and deeds. The example makes the ideal taught complete. This is the way of man, God knows it, and He supports it. Consider the concept that was offered to Adam. 

Genesis 6:62 Even so ye must be born again, into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye may be sanctified from all sin; and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come; even immortal glory.

From the time of Adam until Christ the idea of repentance and baptism were just a spiritual concept. I am sure there were people that Adam reached out to that would say, “If I could just see such a man of righteousness I would understand fully what all of this meant”. God knew this and He sent Christ that the testimony of His love for all mankind would be a real temporal truth (firstly spiritual, secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work). Christ sacrifice on the cross ay Calvary made our choice available to us temporally. In that choice we received both salvation and the Holy Spirit that would lead us to redemption (firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work). This is the way of God and in that way He fulfills the needs of the human condition. 

Now after distracting you with this rather metaphysical concept, I will try to tie it in with the most effective reason for us to be inspired to serve God diligently. God wants us to go forward with Him in this labor not only because we accept His Gospel, but also because we believe it. He wants us to believe it so much that we support it with every fiber of our being. God wants His way to be our way, too. He wants us to be so inspired that our labor with Him becomes nourishment for our soul, that which strengthens us, and that, which sustains us each day. In this mindset diligence is both born and achieved.

Luke 15:8-9  

15:8 Either, what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 

15:9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and neighbors together, saying, Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost. 

In this passage, diligently describes the way she searched for the coin. What caused this attitude? It was the value she placed on what was lost. That value was so great that at finding the lost coin she called her friends and neighbors together for a celebration. The woman placed a value on this coin far above any temporal worth it could have. She valued it so much that the need to find it overshadowed any other labor in her world, and when she found it, she was filled to overflowing with joy.

For us to labor with the proper amount of diligence necessary, we must value the Kingdom of God above anything we might receive in this life or the next. We must be fully prepared to live and work in that pursuit for the rest of our earthly days. We must love the labor, love the people we labor with, love those we labor to save, and love the God we labor for; and yes, it is possible. We all understand deep within us what it is to work diligently without thought for anything but the labor. 

We work hard for the money we make and we give our bosses a good day’s work for the money we receive. But think how hard we labor to get that rose bush to bloom or those tomatoes to grow. How sweaty are we when we finish mowing the yard and turn to appreciate it. How many hours do we involve in coaching our kid’s soccer team? We do these labors for very little if anything beyond the sheer joy of doing them. This is what God wants for us. He wants us to be diligent in working for joy, because He knows us. He knows we will work harder and more diligently for that which we desire. But how does our covenant labor become the single most important thing in our life.  

Alma 10:27-28 

10:27 And now my brethren, I wish from the inmost part of my heart, yea, with great anxiety, even unto pain, that ye would hearken unto my words, and cast off your sins, and not procrastinate the day of your repentance; 

10:28  But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long suffering; having faith on the Lord;

We seek God, in the Spirit. We gain hope, in the Spirit. We overcome sin, in the Spirit. We receive love for God and all mankind, in the Spirit. Brothers and Sisters pray for the Spirit to teach you, humble yourself to the lesson, and then prepare yourselves for the changes it will bring to your life.

Matthew 13:46-47

13:46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field. And when a man hath found a treasure which is hid, he secureth it, and, straightway, for joy thereof, goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

13:47 And again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant-man, seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

The key to diligence is making God’s purpose our own. In that act, diligence is no longer a discipline that allows us the wherewithal to complete an arduous task. Instead it becomes a response to an overwhelming desire alive in our hearts. Diligence becomes joy. Labor becomes joy. Sacrifice becomes joy. Fellowshipping with God becomes as natural and as necessary as our next breath. We live to labor and labor to live. The Spirit ceases to be a taskmaster and becomes our teacher, mentor, and friend sharing in oneness the desires of our hearts. 

Jacob 3:137-139

3:137 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them, Go to and labor in the vineyard, with your mights. 

3:138 For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard: for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; 

3:139 And if ye labor with your mights with me, ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself, against the time which will soon come.  

We seek God in the Spirit. We gain hope in the Spirit. We overcome sin in the Spirit. We receive the ability to love God and all mankind in the Spirit. Brothers and Sisters pray for it and then prepare to receive it.

Praise God for all the blessings we have received and praise Him more for those yet to come.


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