There is need for diligence in your business or profession. God has promised to prosper and bless the work of your hands. But the business can suffer or even collapse for various reasons. Therefore, there must be continuous analysis of whatever business you do and projection of future possibilities.
Today, business and employment opportunities can change quickly and drastically. Businesses and jobs are usually lost as a result of consumer trends, stealing and fraud, economic depression, neglect and slothfulness, new technology, natural disasters and death of the owners, in particular.
God expects wisdom and diligence to be applied in our businesses. “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11). Slothfulness is a sinful nature of man. Some successful businessmen have rested on their oars and watched their flourishing businesses decline and phase out. Are you operating your business to be better than the previous year?
“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nestles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man” (Proverbs 24:30-34).
You are commanded to be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds (Proverbs 27:23). Knowing the condition of the flocks and herds directly applies to those in animal husbandry. Those who do the business of animals are expected to know those with diseases, as well as checking any losses from theft, wild animals or even death. They should provide adequate grazing areas and water and ensure the hired shepherds are committed to taking care of the animals.
Indolent shepherds may lose their jobs while the hardworking ones will be encouraged and rewarded. Herdsmen in Nigeria are notorious for consistently killing fellow humans and destroying their property and farmlands, ostensibly to acquire grazing fields for their animals. To them the lives of their animals are more valuable than those of people. Of course, this is not the type of diligence commanded by God, who created man in His own image.
You must know the condition of your business – your stock (liquid and solid) or fixed assets, banking and interest rates, human capital, machines and equipment, clients, consumers, competitors, impact of technology and Internet, changing lifestyles and fashions, government taxes and regulations, seasonal variations affecting demands and so on.
Do you know that the location of a business is a major factor to certain types of businesses? You need to know the present threats to your prosperity. Careful consideration of the statistics and information will enable you project into the future to manage growth and challenges. This is strategic planning.
As a worker, you will need further training to be up to date. Are you making deliberate efforts to make yourself more valuable and marketable? Can your employer do without your services? Are your present skills still in demand or do you need to sharpen them? How do you see yourself in the next five to ten years? You must continually check yourself to ensure you remain relevant and productive and, if possible, indispensable.
Diligence in business implies asking probing questions to intelligently forecast its future. What are its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats? No person, even your business consultants, can tell you exactly what will happen in the future; but it is desirable to face the future with courage and hope and then trust the only One Who controls the future. He has the future in His hands and declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10a).
Therefore, make your plans for the future and commit them to the Lord. “Commit your works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established” (Proverbs 16:3). Without Him all the efforts to build your business may be in vain. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep a city, the watchmen waketh but in vain” (Psalm 127:1).
Do not overwork yourself and ruin your health. Rest, sleep and enjoy your life. “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so He giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2).