Day 16

Be a Diligent Worker

from the 1 & 2 Timothy reading plan


2 Timothy 2:14-26, Psalm 119:9-16, Galatians 5:16-25

BY Claire Gibson

Recently I read an out-of-print book called “Dear Scott, Dear Max,” which chronicles the correspondence between the author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his agent, Maxwell Perkins. What starts as a discussion surrounding publication of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, quickly turns into a fascinating window into Fitzgerald’s inner life. 

The author vacillates between illusions of grandeur and doldrums of depression. He is at times a financial success, and others at the border of bankruptcy begging Perkins for loans. He complains to his agent that he is doomed never to write anything ever again, then a few months later, reports about his play-in-progress is “the best thing I’ve ever written.” But most interesting to me is the amount of word-count Fitzgerald gives to criticizing the work and accolades of his contemporaries. Knowing that Fitzgerald was on the precipice of writing The Great Gatsby, I can’t help but read the letters and think, “If only he knew!”

At times, I wonder if our Lord Jesus Christ looks upon us with a similar compassion. What kinds of arguments, discussions, or fights about words do I get caught up in every day? To whom am I comparing myself? What doom have I assigned to myself that is not mine to carry? In what personal talents have I forfeited all hope or placed undo confidence? And what might happen in my life if I trust Paul’s words to Timothy and “present [my]self to God as one approved,” instead of constantly trying to prove myself?

The fruit of the spirit are not en vogue. Gentleness is not a quality that plays well on a screen. Patience, endurance, self-control? These are products of an inner life bathed in the light of Christ, not constantly seeking the light of the world’s affirmation and attention. And if I take those qualities with me to every conversation, every disagreement, I am no longer an armored fighter, trying to win, but a servant of the Lord, content to receive whatever outcome He deems fit. What freedom I would display in this world, if I could operate with that kind of detached optimism!

Conversations and disagreements will happen—but, if with the psalmist I can say “Lord, I am indeed your servant,” then the outcomes of those conversations are not my chief concern. My only hope is in the Lord and His mercy. From this vantage point, the world can feel like a terrifying place. But I take hope in my God, who already knows how the story ends, who whispers into my ears each day through the words: Oh, Claire, if only you knew! 

Post Comments (36)

36 thoughts on "Be a Diligent Worker"

  1. Melissa Mcronney says:

    Amen

  2. Claire B says:

    This…..23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. – 2 Timothy 2:23-24

  3. Claire B says:

    THIS…

  4. Sarah Perdue says:

    Needed this today. I am enough

  5. Dorothy says:

    How many times have I ignored the Lord saying “If you only knew!” or “Why won’t you listen to me?” or even “Your plans need to change, this is what I need you to do…”. I’ve started to listen more, more recently but I think maybe some of it is because I’ve had to.

    Lord, open my ears to hear You and Your plans and what You want for me than anything else. Allow me to follow You in the path You have set for me in this stage of my life. Remind me, when I get off track, even if You have to hit me over the head or with pain, that Your way is THE ONLY WAY. Thank You for all You have done for me. I PRAISE YOUR NAME NOW AND FOREVER!!!! AMEN!

    Sisters be blessed and listen closely you never know when the Lord might be CALLING YOU!!

  6. Traci Gendron says:

    What a beautiful devotion Claire! I was just talking about the fruits of the spirit to my husband and brother this past week. I was saying they are not the way of the world. That lately self control is out the window. I’m so thankful that I found Christ and that He never left my side even when I wasn’t being all that faithful. That I have nothing to prove to anyone. My hope is that others see the light of Christ in me. I’m far from perfect, but will reflect on the fruit of the spirit today. I desire to be part of God’s plan and not the worlds.

  7. Carla Powers says:

    Wow, such good food for thought in this devotional! Do I enter conversations and disagreements like an armored fighter seeking to win or as a servant of the Lord content with whatever outcome He deems fit? Am I more concerned with the outcome or displaying the fruit of the Spirit? Oh Lord, humble me and teach me to seek righteousness above all else!

  8. Cindy Hanna says:

    I’m appreciating all the insightful comments today. It is a joy to witness The Spirit at work, showing us the area’(s) of growth we need to lean into.

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