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Diligence vs. Sloth/Indifference

January 26, 2023

Daily Scripture

Proverbs 6:6-11, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 15:58

Proverbs 6

6 Go to the ant, you lazy person;
observe its ways and grow wise.
7 The ant has no commander, officer, or ruler.
8 Even so, it gets its food in summer;
gathers its provisions at harvest.
9 How long, lazy person, will you lie down?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to lie down—
11 and poverty will come on you like a prowler,
destitution like a warrior.


1 Corinthians 9

24 Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. 25 Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. 26 So now this is how I run—not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. 27 Rather, I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others.


1 Corinthians 15

58 As a result of all this, my loved brothers and sisters, you must stand firm, unshakable, excelling in the work of the Lord as always, because you know that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Hebrew wisdom writers saw ants work diligently. In Proverbs 6, they urged people to learn from the ants. The apostle Paul used Greek Olympic words and images in 1 Corinthians 9. (That made sense—Corinth hosted the popular Isthmian Games every two years.) It’s good that technology can automate many repetitive, boring tasks. But that can lull us into an indifferent, low-energy approach to all of life. Our culture often seems to say that only days off and retirement are truly good times.

  • Sports champions must avoid choices that harm their physical body’s condition. Paul compared himself to a boxer in a ring, not a person “shadowboxing” against air. What forces, outer or inner, do you believe Paul saw himself needing to actively conquer for optimal spiritual health? What forces are you fighting for spiritual health in your life? How can technology help you to stay “in the ring,” actively building up God’s kingdom, rather than becoming passive and indifferent?
  • Hebrews 6 contrasted committed, active Christians with nominal Christians who produced no kingdom fruit. The Message rendered Hebrews 6:10-11 as, “God doesn’t miss anything. He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown…. And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet.” As Corinthians put it, do you know “that your labor isn’t going to be for nothing in the Lord”?

Dear Jesus, forgive me for times when I am indifferent your presence in my life. Teach me to hear your voice more clearly, and then to have a gritty, engaged will to follow you. Amen.

GPS Insights

 Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie

Mikiala Tennie serves as the Student Discipleship Program Director with Resurrection Students. She has nearly 20 years of volunteer and professional ministry experience and loves walking alongside and encouraging others in their spiritual journey. Mikiala is blessed to be an adoptive aunt and godmother to many kiddos and lives with her 10-pound Yorkie, KiKi Okoye Tennie.

I am the least competitive person I know. As a kid I had a poster of Jackie Joyner-Kersee on my bedroom wall because she symbolized strength and fortitude, but I would only watch her run when my dad called me out of my room and then I’d head right back to stick my nose in a book.

I remember growing up rooting for the Chicago Bulls in the 90s, but in hindsight, I was rooting for the people around me to experience a win. I was rooting for a feeling…and very specifically rooting for Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.

Competition just isn’t in my bones, but I understand the concepts of strength, fortitude, and teamwork. Sometimes, when we are running our proverbial race, we forget that the race isn’t just about what we do, it’s also about what we don’t.

The race isn’t about how many times you’ve prayed, read your Bible, or been a good role model. We often forget that part of the race is putting down your phone when it’s distracting you from making wise choices, or logging off from work when it’s family time, or not picking up the remote when your Bible study homework still isn’t complete (that one’s for me–I’m talking to myself on that one).

After all, the Bulls won championships by putting in work and choosing to lay aside the things that would pull them away from that goal. Jackie Joyner-Kersee won races because of her choices off the track just as much as what she did on the track.

Whether you’re super competitive or could care less like me, we are all running a race just like the Apostle explained in First Corinthians. But we’re not running against the people around us, we’re running to win an eternal prize! The question is, are your everyday choices helping you run the distance or distracting you from your goal?

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Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.