In Alma 38, Alma shares some words with his middle son, Shiblon. He commends Shiblon who appears to be not flashy but quietly steady, faithful, and diligent in the work of the Lord. You probably know people like this today or perhaps you would even consider this a description of yourself. People like this are rarely recognized for their efforts, so it’s good that Alma takes time to recognize his son’s efforts here.
Shiblon has begun teaching the word of God to the people, and Alma encourages him to continue in the same way with this work:
“And now, as ye have begun to teach the word even so I would that ye should continue to teach; and I would that ye would be diligent and temperate in all things.” (Alma 38:10)
Whereas words like “steady” or “faithful” typically apply to general service to God — such as someone who is steady in church attendance or faithful to a particular belief system — the word “diligent” applies to working. In fact, being diligent is defined as “having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties.”
So, what does it mean to be diligent in the work of the Lord? To me, it means getting past the initial euphoria of a new job or assignment associated with the Lord’s work and continuing either until the end of the project (if it’s a project) or continuing to do the job on a regular basis for as long as you are in the position. Here are some examples:
- The sole minister in a mission who is ready to deliver a message every Sunday
- The Sunday school teacher who has a lesson prepared every week
- The deacon who proactively makes sure the church building is prepared and comfortable for the congregation in preparation for each meeting
- The missionary who continues to work with a mission field through ups and downs over a long period of time
- The coordinator of a large event (such as a campout) who makes sure all necessary tasks are completed for the success of the event
- The editor and staff of church publications (such as the Gospel News or Gospel Blog) who repetitively perform the tasks necessary to produce the publication over and over and over again
What do all of the above have in common? They involve someone performing tasks, typically on their own time, perhaps over a long period of time, perhaps repetitively, preferably proactively to further the work of the Lord. They often involve efforts that can be easily overlooked, yet the failure to perform these efforts will result in a visibly negative impact on the work of the Lord. Thus, there is reason to appreciate those who are diligent in the work of the Lord.
So, if diligence — a good work ethic — is a strength for you, consider volunteering to work for the church. Since workers for the church are strictly volunteer labor, it’s often the case that those who volunteer have a hard time exercising diligence for very long. You can surely make a difference in what the church can do if you are diligent in the work of the Lord.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.