Anyone that has read Chris Gardner’s autobiography or seen its movie adaptation “The Pursuit of Happyness” should be able to relate with the power of diligence and determination in living an impactful life and achieving good success. In a true grass to grace story, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son (coincidentally played by Smith’s son) evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.
One striking thing I want to believe we all should be able to relate with about his story is the fact that he took his destiny in his hands, played his part very well while trusting God for a breakthrough. He never for once resigned to fate or plunge into despair. My challenge today dwells on how some Christians had misrepresented God’s omnipotence. Although the Bible teaches that God is sovereign and has total and absolute power over all things. The belief that God controls everything that happens to us is one of the devil’s biggest inroads into our lives. When people take this doctrine to unbiblical extremes, they become passive and uninvolved. They lack zeal, become irresponsible and do not strive for personal excellence. If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant, and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be. All is of God, they say, so God does everything. He is the Potter, we are the clay so it does not matter what we say, think or do. He is the ultimate decider of all things. The point is, if we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, it gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in Him, and leads to irresponsibilities on our part.
God sovereignty does not mean we are excused from our responsibilities. It does not give us the liberty to abdicate our duties at all. God predetermined the consequences but gave us the free will to choose our path. He has a predefined will for each one of us but gave us the responsibility to either walk in it or away from it. Our tendencies to want to absolve ourselves of our responsibilities in God’s overall plan for us could sometimes cause us to eschew perseverance and some even go to the extreme of taking life’s challenges as indications that God is opposed to their plans. We forget Proverbs 22:29 [Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men] and Proverbs 12:24 [The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor], claim God’s promises, refused to earnestly put in the best of our efforts and start trusting God for bountiful rewards. Diligence requires us to remain doggedly committed to getting to the finish line. We strive for the best against all odds and refuse to be swayed by challenges we encounter. God is no slacker and can be counted on hundred percent of the time. He wants His children to be imitators of Him, according to Ephesians 5:1. He set up the principles of sowing and reaping and the law of giving and receiving extends to diligence and conscientiousness in one’s work. God never called out lazy people to do His divine assignments. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all herdsmen. Moses and David were shepherds. Elisha was plowing, and Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen. Even Jesus had an occupation. Those who assertively take action and diligently pursue their dreams are the ones who will flourish. Be diligent in all you do and excellence will trail you in all things.