If our era had a buzzword, hustle would be a fierce contender. In 2018, if you don’t have a side hustle, a fever, a pet project that you’re fanatically growing, optimizing, organizing, or creatively monetizing, we want to know: Are you even trying? Are you at all curious, thriving, or thinking globally, becoming braver, wiser, or helping your household become more chemical-free?
Hustle is the gospel of good momentum. Although the word used to simply mean hurry, now it’s a credo and cult, a secret handshake betwixt movers, shakers, and mom-prenuers. It’s also the stamp of sincerity, proof that you’re “turning pro,” as writer Stephen Pressfield calls it, leaving the realms of the dabblers to take your ideas (and yourself) more seriously.
Although Scripture encourages believers to be industrious and work cheerfully, with the whole of their hearts (Col. 3:23–24), it also tempers potential excesses with a reminder: that hard work and breathless work are not, in fact, the same thing. This might sound like splitting hairs, but the difference between wisdom and folly boils down to posture—to the way we go about our business. At what pace, with what kind of (white-knuckled) grip, and to what ends?
As someone who sympathizes with the urge to achieve, I’m still learning this the hard way. I read way too many books on efficiency and simplicity and self-betterment. Worse yet, my husband and I have taken on the project of self-contracting the build of our small farmhouse in the boonies. This means that I’m typing with a laminate floor sample serving as my coffee coaster and sawdust gumming my nose. Three half-built IKEA cabinets sit parked in my living room, and I’ll spend most of tomorrow breastfeeding our eight-month-old while trying to help lay 800 square feet of snap-together floor.
At its best, my hustling feels motivated by a desire to be faithful and creative and bold. It means taking God up on his dare to, as he said to Peter, “get out of the boat.” However, if I’m honest, my hustle only begins there. That small spark of faith is soon snuffed out by self-reliance.
I try to ignore this and convince myself that a little hustle is biblical, that it looks a lot like what Proverbs lauds: the sage ant who labors all summer, storing up food in the face of snow. But Proverbs has to be read in concert with the rest of the Word—the Psalms, in particular, which let all the hot air out of the hustler delusion.
The writers of the Psalms warn us that hard work isn’t supposed to be breathless, because we serve a God of rhythm and seasons, rotation and rest. This good news is on display in Psalm 127:1–2:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
According to the psalmist, it’s pointless to grind out the early mornings and late eves. This is the first problem with our hustle-hard culture: It forgets that God is the sovereign finisher—that he alone grants the harvest, and he alone manages and multiplies our desires. Solomon warns that most of our hustles will amount to wind-chasing, anyway. He says our very itch for success has roots in our covetous hearts (Ecc. 4:4), and we’d be wise to relax a little more and want a little less: “Better to have one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind” (v. 6).
Click here to read more.
Source: Christianity Today