Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Proverbs 22:29.
Dear son Edson: I fear that you do not always wisely regulate your labor. You sometimes do too much, and then allow precious hours to pass unimproved, thus creating a necessity for extra exertion. Temperate, persevering, steady labor will achieve far more than can be accomplished by spasmodic efforts….
Labor was appointed to man by his Creator. God provided employment for our first parents in holy Eden. And since the Fall, man has been a toiler, eating his bread by the sweat of his brow. Every bone of his body, every feature of his countenance, every muscle of his limbs, evinces the fact that he was made for activity, not for idleness….
The faithful discharge of life’s duties, whatever your position, calls for a wise improvement of all the talents and abilities that God has given you. Guard against being always hurried, yet accomplishing nothing worthy of the effort. These fruitless efforts are often caused by a failure to do the work at the proper time. Whatever is neglected at the time when it should be performed, whether in secular or in religious things, is rarely done well. Many appear to labor diligently every hour in the day, and yet produce no results to correspond with their efforts….
Be careful not to fritter away your time upon trifles, and then fail to carry out your undertakings that are of real account. The church and the world need calm, well-balanced men. To run well for a season is not enough. A steadfast adherence to a purpose is necessary in order to secure the end. A distinguished man was once asked how it was possible for him to accomplish such a vast amount of business. His answer was, “I do one thing at a time.” …
Henry Martyn, both as a man and a missionary, depended not a little upon his habits of regularity. To such an extent did he carry these, that he was known in the university as the student who never wasted an hour…. How many youth who might have become men of usefulness and power have failed because in early life they contracted habits of indecision which followed them through life to cripple all their efforts. Now and then they are filled with sudden zeal to do some great thing, but they leave their work half finished and it comes to nothing. Patient continuance in well doing is indispensable to success.
My dear son, be thorough in all you undertake. Rely constantly upon your Saviour; go to Him for wisdom, for courage, for strength of purpose, for everything you need. May the Lord bless you is the prayer of your mother.—Letter 3, May 12, 1877, to her 27-year-old son Edson.
The Upward Look p. 146
—-We have a virus that is going around in our family. Please pray that we will soon be well and stay well.
—-Please pray for Brenda as she finds out the results of her MRI. Rose
In 1989, we moved from Utah to Washington state. For a few weeks, while I was looking for a place to live, we lived in a hotel near the airport where ron was working. While there, Eileen decided she wanted to go down to the hotel’s Jacuzzi. Esther Marie, age six, begged to go along. Against my better judgment, I consented. They really liked the warm, bubbly water, but being so tiny, the force of the water caused Esther Marie to slip underneath the water. Eileen quickly grabbed her little sister and all seemed to be well.
However, a few days after we moved into a house, all was not well. Esther Marie got very sick. At first, I thought it was just a cold, but it soon became apparent that it was far worse. I hurried her to the doctor. One look, and the office girl summoned the nurse who led us immediately to a room in the back. After a short examination and blood work, the doctor found it was meningitis. Perhaps it was because of swallowing some of the Jacuzzi’s water. There was an outbreak of the disease just south of Spokane and someone might have used that Jacuzzi who was infected. Then, when my little girl slipped under the water, she probably swallowed some of those germs.
In much the same way, the “germ” of sin is spread. It is often passed from one to another. By beholding we become changed. How careful we must be to choose our friends wisely, for they have the power to draw us closer to the Lord or to separate us from Him. This does not happen right away, nor does it happen all at once, but it does happen. The germs of sin that we “catch” from the other person begins to grow within us until we become thoroughly infected and just as sin-sick as Esther Marie was physically sick. It is no wonder that Paul advises, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor 6:14-18
Another way we can be infected with the sin germ is by the TV programs we watch or the music we listen to. Before long, we find ourselves talking like and dressing like the characters that we have watched or listened to. Our mind is so filled with the things of this world that the Bible seems uninteresting and we soon set it aside, or, if we still read it at all, our mind keeps wandering to other things. How much we need to heed Paul who urges, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8
May we guard carefully the “avenues of the soul” by what we watch, by what we listen to, by the friends that we choose. May we choose Jesus to be our Best Friend and stay so close to Him that we will allow no “germ of sin” to grow within our heart. May we be diligent to add to [our] faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” that all may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus is my prayer. 2 Peter 1:6, 7; Acts 4:13