Diligence is key to earning self-respect, respect from others, wealth, and security. When responsibility comes your way, handling it with diligence will win you peace of mind.
The Book of Proverbs itself grants this virtue high praise. The word diligent occurs seven times in the King James Version of the book, more than any other book of the Old Testament, and is the only place diligence occurs in all the Old Testament.
Before we begin exploring what Proverbs says, here’s a verse I memorized many years ago, a simple and concise reminder of what is required to be truly successful:
All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith. (D&C 103:36.)
So what does Proverbs say about diligence? Here’s a good example:
The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked. He becometh poor that death with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. (Proverbs 10:4–5; see also Proverbs 13:4.)
As the proverb says, “the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” The diligent get good jobs and “bear rule” or find freedom in their work:
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men [low-ranking officials]. (Proverbs 22:29; see also Proverbs 12:24.)
The ant is called out several times in Proverbs as an exemplar of diligence:
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6–8; see also Proverbs 30:25.)
Wealth obtained easily or casually can quickly vanish, but labor—good, honest work from the heart—will make anything grow stronger and larger. It will enlarge the soul and all it possesses, both in a spiritual sense as well as in the physical.
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. (Proverbs 13:11.)
It’s not only the actions but the thoughts of the diligent that make a difference. Diligence renounces a mad rush toward wealth. Like any good thing, prosperity takes time to develop and when it does, it is appreciated more. And what happens when you are hasty to follow a get rich scheme?
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want. (Proverbs 21:5.)
Compare this take a few chapters later:
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. (Proverbs 28:20.)
A hasty lunge at wealth leaves much to be desired. Wealth gained by fraud and deceit will eventually evaporate. You can never hold for long what you do not truly love, and you don’t truly love what you covet or lust after. Without the investment of wholesome thought, good planning, and diligent effort, you cannot develop trust or a long-term relationship, with either a person or with money. It just doesn’t work. And it won’t last.
Be diligent, Proverbs exhorts. Take care of what God has given you. Watch over it, carefully and prayerfully, and it will surely grow—and stick around.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. (Proverbs 27:23–27.)
Lastly, keep diligent watch over your heart, for that is where life and wealth issues from (see Proverbs 4:23). It’s all about your heart—your desire and intent. It’s the master controller of your thoughts, which is how you create your life.