How to Stand Before Kings

close up photo of a condenser microphone

It is one thing to make great plans, and it is another to execute the steps. You have seen this before. A man dreams of being generous while walking by a person in need. A student stays up late into the evening, doodling her path to graduation, then she sleeps in the following morning, missing class. A couple imagines what it would be like to have a healthy marriage, but they don’t work through and settle their latest conflict. We want to finish the race, and that is commendable. But the finish line only materializes when you put your feet to pavement. 

Proverbs 29:29 says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings.” But it does not say that you will stand before kings if you merely think about standing before them. It is not the man who hears the word which is blessed but the man who does the word.

Diligence requires that you show up on time and labor skillfully at your assigned task. The kind of work varies. It may be shopping for groceries, going for a run, attending a faculty meeting, or answering e-mails. It may also be the work of confessing sin, interceding in prayer for a friend, or leading a time of family worship. Whatever the work, the key is to do it without delay. 

When we get down to our business, then others see our faith. James says, “Shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18). Diligence, then, is not some good old-fashioned legalism as if we leave off faith in order to get on with labor. No, it is our faith that works. By faith we live in the moment, rejoice in our station, and do the word believing that the hand of the diligent shall rule.