Diligence is the opposite of laziness. Preach My Gospel tells us that ‘Diligence is steady, consistent, earnest, and energetic effort in doing the Lord’s work. The Lord expects you to work diligently—persistently and with great effort and care.’
Jorge F Zeballos at General Conference in October 2009 said:
God will not require more than the best we can give because that would not be just, but neither can He accept less than that because that would not be just either. Therefore, let us always give the best we can in the service of God and our fellowmen. Let us serve in our families and in our callings in the Church in the best manner possible. Let us do the best we can and each day be a little better.
In Mosiah 6:9 we read:
……….let us labor diligently; for if we should cease to labor, we should be brought under condemnation; for we have a labor to perform whilst in this tabernacle of clay, that we may conquer the enemy of all righteousness, and rest our souls in the kingdom of God.
Mosiah 4:27 sets out the balance we all need to find – we must not run faster than we are able; yet at the same time we must be diligent:
And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order. (See also D&C 10:4)
Elder M Russell Ballard discussed finding this balance and counselled:
Often that will mean temporarily postponing attention to one priority in order to take care of another. Sometimes family demands will require your full attention. Other times professional responsibilities will come first. And there will be times when Church callings will come first. Good balance comes in doing things in a timely way and in not procrastinating our preparation or waiting to fulfill our responsibilities until the last minute. (General Conference, October 2006).
Elder Neal A Maxwell shared his experience of trying to do more than he had resources to do:
On my office wall is a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.” For me, it is a needed reminder. A few years ago, already weary, I foolishly went late one afternoon to two different hospitals to give blessings to three individuals who were dying of cancer. Not only was I worn out, but worse, the last person really didn’t get much from me. Things had not been done in “wisdom and order.” I was running faster than my supply of strength and energy on that occasion. Those blessings would have been better given over two or three days, and I would have had more empathy and energy. (“Wisdom and Order,” Ensign, June 1994, 41)
Elder Ballard and Elder Maxwell are not saying that we should not be diligent, that we should not do the best we can: they are saying that we should use wisdom and prioritise.
Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews (Chapter 6), promises us that God will recognise and reward our efforts to be diligent:
10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.