April 25 I Saturday
2 Samuel 21-22
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” —1 Timothy 4:15
One of the greatest sports moments in Canadian history took place last May with the score tied and less than five seconds left on the clock in Game 7 of the NBA Eastern Conference semi-finals. It looked like the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers would have to go into overtime. But Raptor Kawhi Leonard just got the inbound pass. He dribbled it over to the corner, just in front of the Raptors bench, and threw his shot over a seven-foot defender. All hearts stopped as we sat on the edge of our seats watching the ball bounce on the rim of the basket not once or twice but four improbable times before it finally went through the hoop. For the first time in NBA history, the Raptors were going to the finals, where they would eventually win the championship against the Golden State Warriors.
As we look back at that moment, would we say Leonard just got lucky with that shot? When we study the disciplined life of a basketball player––or any athlete––they not only work diligently in their training to create the best physique but also complement it with a strict diet. Perhaps Leonard did have a stroke of luck, but without a doubt, we know there was a lot of practice behind the making of that game-winning shot.
In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he writes, “Be diligent in these matters…” (1 Timothy 4:15). The Greek word for “diligent” is meletao, which means, “to care for, attend to carefully, to practice.” The “matters” that Paul refers to comes from the previous verse about Timothy’s spiritual gifts.
Like Leonard, and any other athletes, Paul was reminding Timothy to be diligent, practice regularly, exercise and utilize the gift that God had deposited into His life. Because when we practice our spiritual gift and exercise it, like a muscle, it grows stronger.
Altogether, when Paul says, “Until I come, devote yourself….Do not neglect your gift….Be diligent in these matters....” (1 Timothy 4:13-15), he is emboldening Timothy with three important verbs: devote, do not neglect and be diligent. All of these verbs are action words. In other words, Paul is saying to Timothy, as well as indirectly to us, “Are our devotions in the right place? Are we not neglecting what God has given to us but are diligently putting it into practice?”
As Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents, the reality is that we ought to practice, strengthen and use our spiritual gifts. When we neglect it and are not devoted and diligent, we could eventually lose it. May we heed to the words of Paul and “…fan into flame the gift of God…” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Prayer: Precious Jesus, I pray that You will help me practice, strengthen and use my spiritual gifts with utmost devotion and diligence, not neglecting what You have graciously deposited into me. Thank You, Lord.