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  • Writer's pictureSherelle Rossow

Do You Know The Hebrew Meaning of Diligence?

“Much can be accomplished if you seek a heart of wisdom and walk diligently with God
each and every day.”
Elizabeth George

What is diligence?

Unlike in English which uses one word, diligence in Hebrew has several distinct meanings as it uses four Hebrew words. Each of them gives a different understanding.
mishamar means to guard, it comes from the root word.
shamar which means to keep, to watch over, to preserve.
charitsuit is consistently developing and honing your skills.
hatamadah means being diligent in the sense of enduring, does not give up.

The chayil woman of Proverbs 31 provides us with beautiful examples of all these definitions in action, she watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness (v27). She is wise with her time and energy, she has a purpose, and she spends her days diligently devoted to what she oversees, whether it is caring for her children and husband, looking after the family home or finances, and in her work, whether she is an employer or an employee. She embraces Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart diligently, for from it flow the springs of life.”

Diligence in our relationship with God/Yahweh.

Above any other relationship, this is the one that requires the most commitment to mishamar diligence. It requires everything from us. Scripture tells that we need to apply diligence in our faith and relationship with Yahweh and our walk. Joshua 22:5 states,

“Take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses
the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God and
to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto
him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
It is clear therefore that when we give our hearts to a relationship with our creator, we are to do so diligently – with all our heart and soul. Setting aside time for prayer, study, and worship, all require diligence with our time, to be intentional with our desire to get to know our creator on a personal level, to know who He is and what He expects from us. Unless we are diligent in protecting the time we dedicate to this, it is easy for the cares of this life to overtake our time with Him.

Although there is no mention of the chayil woman setting time aside to spend with her creator, the passage does imply that she does. She is a woman that fears Yahweh. The fear of Yahweh is always associated with being in a relationship and obeying his commandments. (Deut 5:26, 6:2, 10:2, 13:5, 1 Sam 12:24)

2nd Peter 3:14 explains why we need to be diligent in our faith and our walk.
Therefore, loved ones, while you are looking for these things (the messiah’s return), make every effort (diligence) to be found in peace, spotless and blameless before Him.”
That is the summary of the goal of our earthly walk is it not? To be found in our Messiah and King without spot and blameless.

Diligence in our work
Yahweh wants us to not only be diligent in our walk but also our work or purpose. As chayil women, we know that work is not limited to paid employment, it covers just about everything we do. It ranges from raising our children, supporting our husbands, caring for our home, animals, and possessions, to looking after the finances, managing businesses, and everything in between. And in all of it, Yahweh instructs us to be diligent. WHY? Because diligence is rewarded and brings opportunities. Proverbs 12:24,27 and 22:29 says,
“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy will become forced labor.”
“A lazy person does not roast his game, but a diligent person prizes his possessions.”
The chayil woman was not lazy. She lived every day with intent and purpose. She did not wake up and wonder what she was going to do or how she was going to fill in her time. Each day she gave it her all.

Diligence in our households Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your strength, for there is no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom in the grave, where you are going.” The direction here is simple, we are to do our best, no matter what situation or job we find ourselves doing. This is an example of shaqidah. Diligence at home is no different. We need to apply ourselves to the task at hand and do it to the best of our ability. This is an area in which I personally struggle!! Housework is not my favorite activity, and I am sure I am not the only one who feels that way. But I know the difference it makes to the atmosphere of my home when I diligently apply myself to keeping it clean and tidy. It makes the home a place of peace and rest for the family.
When you study the chayil woman, she diligently managed or oversaw the household affairs. She made sure that her family was well taken care of, and they had everything that they needed. She did not do everything herself, she had servants which helped her. Her diligence also extended to ensuring that their needs were met.

We need to be aware of the people in our life that help us with managing our household. We do not call them servants anymore. We call them house cleaners, the ironing lady, babysitters, repair people, delivery drivers (for our online purchases), and even friends or extended family.

Diligence in our relationships
Maintaining relationships require mishamar diligence. Relationships require effort and time to maintain any close level. We need to take the time to reach out to our friends often. Children need their parent’s attention and time daily as do our marriages. It can be hard to put aside time for these areas of our lives when so often we are just keeping up with the bare minimum. However, it is never a waste of time to invest it in the people who are precious to us.
These are the relationships that we need to guard and protect. Quite often these are the people that help us to grow and develop as chayil women.

In every area of our lives when we consider it, we must try to be diligent. One of the best ways to ensure we can apply ourselves to all the necessary things we have to deal with is to be diligent with the time we have each day. I do not think that means we need to assign chores to every minute of our waking lives as rest is just as important as the next thing, just ensuring we prioritize the important things and be thoughtful about how we use the rest of our time.

This requires both charitsuit and hatamadah diligence. We will not be perfect in all areas. We will even fail at times and that is ok. We just need to keep working on it; to keep developing and improving our skills in the areas we struggle with and to never give up.

On a final note: I know as I was studying this topic that it is very easy to start to feel not good enough, I know I had to stop those thoughts from seeping in as I came to realize all of the places in my life that I am not practicing diligence and I want you to know that those feelings are not the point of this topic. Rather we need to realize that when we know better, we can do better, also that we can support and encourage each other as sisters, knowing that life has its trials and sometimes we fall. Being Chayil Women is all about encouragement and growth in our relationship and our love for our Heavenly Father and each other as well become who we are designed to be. So, if you are having a challenging time, or looking for someone to chat to reach out to me or Katrina, or another sister. We are here to lift you up and encourage you.

May you have a Delightful and Diligent December.
Lotsa Love, till next time,
💜 Sherelle
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