Extending Benefits of Human Service
Diligence breeds success in human service, stimulates recipient’s appreciation, and motivates them to “hunger and taste” to do likewise toward others. Thus, diligence extends the benefits of human service through a long chain among God’s provider-receiver network: whereby every person could be his provider of service to others and receiver of service provided by others. Christ taught diligence through his disciples in feeding thousands in the wilderness. Several generations earlier, David’s diligence manifested in interactions with Saul and as officer and commander in Israel’s army. Diligence brought him success, admiration, and growing reputation as potential future leader of Israel.
Diligence in human service contributes to Following God’s Schedule because it determines a person’s success in completing a call to compassion. As we discuss previously under Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs, God directs a person to a need and expects them to recognize the need, care about the needy, commit to providing, and persevere in seeking to alleviate the need. A person called to provide service to alleviate a need will be successful if he/she understands the need and needy, is driven by care (i.e., hunger and thirst for righteousness) to commit to providing for the need, and perseveres in seeking to alleviate the need. That is, if the person is diligent.
Diligence means understanding what needs to be done and mobilizing resources to complete and deliver service to alleviate the need. Mobilizing resources could include consultation with others, identification of tasks, forming teams as needed, and assigning leadership to accomplish the tasks. For simpler tasks, mobilizing resources would simply mean getting up to do what is needed. For example, the Samaritan mobilized resources initially by providing first aid directly and transporting the needy to the next point of help. There he continued the mobilization by speaking to the inn keeper and promising additional assistance. Diligence manifests in recognizing the details and persevering through to accomplish the objective of delivering service to alleviate the need.
Successful delivery of service to alleviate a need calls for appreciation from the recipient. As we discuss previously under Season for Giving, Receiving, and Appreciation, God expects the recipient of human service to appreciate the service, appreciate the provider, and appreciate God for placing the provider in position to alleviate the need.
EXTENDING BENEFITS OF HUMAN SERVICE Appreciation is important because it motivates the recipient of human service to “hunger and thirst” to do likewise for the benefit of others. Thus, an act of goodness whereby a person provides service to alleviate another person’s need could benefit several more people because the recipient’s appreciation motivates him/her to be good to others that are, in turn, motivated to be good to yet others. Thus, appreciation unlocks the long-term benefit of human service that lies in the potential to motivate an expanding community of people to “hunger and thirst for righteousness.” Therefore, diligence is important because of stimulating appreciation that could result in extending the benefits of human service through a long chain among God’s provider-receiver network.
We discuss Christ’s feeding of thousands in the wilderness to highlight diligence of the disciples laying the foundation for the miracle. Also, we discuss David’s diligence several generations earlier, which manifested in interactions with Saul and in David’s role as officer and commander in Israel’s army. Because of his diligence in human service, David was successful in everything he did and was highly admired among contemporaries. As a result, his reputation grew rapidly as potential future leader of Israel.
Christ Teaching on Diligence—
Provider Assistant Example
Christ used two occasions of feeding a large crowd in a remote place to illustrate the responsibilities and expectations of a person called to provide goods or services to others as God’s provider assistant. In each case, a crowd of thousands needed to be fed, his disciples recognized the need, were motivated by care of the crowd to commit to seeking a solution, consulted among themselves and determined the problem was physically beyond their capabilities, and consulted with their leader. Because their leader was both God and human, their consultation with the leader also amounted to taking the concern to God.
As we discuss previously under Feeding Crowds of Thousands–Provider Assistant Example, God provided food miraculously to his disciples and the disciples provided to the crowd. However, it is important to recognize that diligence of the disciples led them to receiving the miracle, illustrating diligence as a key responsibility of the provider assistant. We discuss the feeding of a crowd of 5,000 men (i.e., approximately 5,000 families) as example.
Feeding Crowd of Five Thousand Men
Jesus wanted to rest his disciples that had just returned from a gospel mission and wanted to discuss their experience. Because too many people were coming and going, he could not find a quiet time with his disciples. Therefore, he decided to take them to a remote quiet place: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” [Mark 6:31]. However, several people understood where they were going and a large crowd got there before him. He had compassion on the crowd and started teaching and interacting with them.
RECOGNIZE AND CARE His disciples recognized a need and their responsibility to act on the need. They realized the large crowd will depend on them for food because it was getting late in the day and they were in a remote place with no homes, market, or any other source of food.
ASSESS THE NEED They assessed the need and determined feeding the crowd would over-strain their resources. They remarked that buying food for so many people would cost too much [Mark 6:37]: “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” They felt it would be better to dismiss the people so they would go to the “surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat” [Mark 6:36].
SEEK GOD’S DIRECTION They did not give up. Instead, they consulted with their leader. Because their leader was both God and human, their consultation with the leader also amounted to taking the concern to God. They suggested what they thought should be done but listened to his direction. Their diligence led to success as God provided a miraculous solution.
Diligence Based on David
In Compassion—Sensitivity to Needs, we discuss David’s diligence in providing palliative care to Saul and in completing his father’s errand. His diligence also manifested in his role as officer and commander in Israel’s army under Saul.
In providing palliative care to Saul, David recognized the onset of episodes and played the harp well to bring Saul relief [1 Samuel 16:23]: “Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.” Also, regarding his father’s errand, David recognized the purpose of the errand was to find out about his brothers’ conditions and report back to his father. Therefore, when he did not meet his brothers at the camp, he went to the battle lines after them and was talking to them when he overheard Goliath’s defiance.
Regarding David’s roles in Saul’s army: initially, he was promoted to a high rank in recognition of successful performance in missions. Later, Saul appointed him a battalion commander to get him out of the way. David’s performance pleased the troops and officers. Also, all Israel and Judah loved David because of his performance as battalion commander. His diligence as officer and commander brought him success, admiration, and growing reputation as potential future leader of Israel: “In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him” [1 Samuel 18:14].
Summary of What We Learned
Diligence breeds success in human service, stimulates recipient’s appreciation, and motivates them to “hunger and taste” to do likewise toward others. Thus, diligence extends the benefits of human service through a long chain among God’s provider-receiver network: whereby every person could be his provider of service to others and receiver of service provided by others.
Christ taught diligence through his disciples in feeding thousands in the wilderness. Several generations earlier, David’s diligence manifested in interactions with Saul and as officer and commander in Israel’s army. Diligence brought him success, admiration, and growing reputation as potential future leader of Israel.
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