The book of Proverbs shares this wonderful statement and I think we all need to listen deeply to its wisdom. “If you work with a diligent hand you will find yourself in charge. If you work with a slack hand you will be put to forced labor by others.”

I don’t know about you but forced labor doesn’t sound fun. It sounds like I am doing someone else’s bidding. I don’t want to do someone else’s bidding. I want to write my own ticket. The method and pathway to writing your own ticket in a ministry context, or in any context for that matter, is diligence. If you are diligent and you work hard you will find yourself calling the shots. However, if you slack off and do a pathetic job of executing things, other people are going to become your slave drivers. I don’t want to be put to forced labor. I want to call the shots and be in charge.

Now, what I have seen in the past from other people in ministry is a whiny and cranky spirit when they are being given tasks by other leaders. I had a leader come to me one time sad and upset and wondering why, oh why, was he being handed random tasks that had nothing really to do with his ministry area, but the senior leaders would come out of a meeting and hand it to him.

Well, after hearing him complain about this for some time I had to have a hard talk with my friend, and I shared with him, in all seriousness, this is a matter of diligence. The senior leaders viewed this individual as having plenty of margin on his hands. He had a lot of idle time. And because of that idle time he was viewed as an individual who could be tasked with jobs. He didn’t want those jobs. He was being forced to do those jobs. Why? Because he worked with a slack hand. They saw him having margin and they handed him things that he did not want to do. He was carrying another man’s dirty water. They wanted the job done but they didn’t want to do it themselves. Find someone who doesn’t look busy.

On the other hand, I was not handed these random tasks. Here’s why. I was diligently executing things and had been for years. What ended up happening is that leaders would never think to hand me some random task because they knew that I was extraordinarily busy and I had massive amounts of results to show for it. The hand of the diligent will rule. They weren’t handing me tasks that were painful and something that I didn’t want to do. I don’t want to do somebody else’s tasks. I want to conquer things that I want to do.

The way that I accomplished that was through diligence. I worked hard, created new opportunities for myself, and executed those opportunities with extreme art and care. At the end of the day, if you don’t want to be told what to do all of the time, be that individual who dominates with diligence and you will find yourself calling your own shots.