Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer,
or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”
Proverbs 6: 6-8
Industriousness is the quality of mind and heart that makes one busily and usefully active. This
definition shows that it consists of three parts: (1) activity, which is the chief ingredient of
industriousness; (2) diligence; if one’s work is done without his being busy, or if his work is
done lazily, sleepily, indifferently, unenergetically or slowly, one could not be called industrious;
and (3) usefulness; many people are busily active, yet they work to no purpose, hence their busy
activity accomplishes nothing or next to nothing.
Industriousness may be either secular or religious. We will only consider religious
industriousness, whose sphere of activity is in one’s own mind, heart and will and toward others’
minds, hearts and wills. In the mind, it bends its energies to understand the generalities and the
details of the Truth of God’s Word. He is also diligent to retain the knowledge of the Truth
already gained. He then adds reasoning thereon, and by doing so he develops a well-reasoned
out grasp of the Truth in its generalities and details.
Furthermore, he adds love for the Truth to its study as just described; which not only gives him a
better hold on it, but it also makes it the power of God working in his responsive heart rightly to
keep it. He then uses his will power to increase the understanding, remembering, reasoning on
and loving the Truth, so that it becomes a living power in one.
The true and loving heart, having been refreshed by the Truth, delights in sharing it with others.
And such sharing increases the imparter’s perceptive, reasoning and memory faculties. The Lord
in appreciation, doubtless rewards such industriousness by giving such fuller insights into its
heights, depths, lengths and breadths.
This religious industriousness will manifest itself also in practicing the Truth that one learns and
gives to others; for the main purpose in the Lord giving us the Truth and its accompanying
privileges is to develop in us the Divine love out of a pure heart, a good conscience and an
undissembled faith (1 Timothy 1: 5).
Some Examples of Industriousness
God’s people vary in their degree of industriousness. Beyond all comparison, Jesus was the most
industrious of all God’s servants on earth; for during but 31⁄2 years of ministry He wore out fully
99% of His perfect vitality, while Adam, before he sinned, having the same perfection as Jesus
had, endured the rigors of the curse for 928 years before he died.
The Apostle Paul’s activity, which was at least as great as that of all the other Apostles
combined, was also one of high degree. Arius was full of activities as author of both prose and
poetry, as well as an orator, preacher, teacher and debater. In the 28 years of Luther’s particular
reformatory work, he did almost as much by preaching, teaching, lecturing, writing, counseling
and organizing as perhaps any other man that ever lived did in 28 years.
John Wesley was a man of amazing industry. Besides writing 12 royal octavo volumes, he
condensed the writings of others into 60 royal octavo volumes; travelled, mainly on horseback or
in carriages, 250,000 miles; preached between 40,000 and 50,000 times; managed the work of
several hundred circuit riders and lay preachers; superintended hundreds of churches (called
societies); and built hundreds of chapels, besides doing much pastoral work and engaging in
The Abuses of Industriousness
Industriousness can be and has been abused by: (1) overdoing it, by keeping too much and too
long at but one thing; this can be overcome by varying one’s work; (2) underdoing it, which
creates leisure of an injurious sort; this can be overcome by making oneself more zealous to
work; (3) being busy in useless things; this can be cured by cultivating practicability; and (4)
attempting to do that for which one is not talented to perform; such should curb their ambition to
attempt that for which they have little or no talents, and instead seek to do that for the Lord, the
brethren and others for which they are fit. Of course, industriousness in evildoing is an abuse of
it, and should be slain by abhorrence, avoidance of and opposition to it.
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