My Devotionals


3 ways to hustle less and trust more

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

As we’ve seen over the past few weeks, trusting is the difficult yet simple act of recognizing that we are not responsible for producing results through our work—God is. 

Once we understand that, it is certainly right to “hustle,” to, as the Apostle Paul said, “strenuously contend with all the energy” we have for the glory of God and the good of others (see Colossians 1:29).

The tension between trusting and hustling isn’t meant to be resolved. It is meant to be embraced. How do you know if you are embracing that tension well? I’d argue that the best indicator is whether or not you can rest.

Are you unwilling to close your laptop or stop checking email late into the night? Are...

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The absurdity of “letting go and letting God”

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)

This verse is one of the most frequently quoted by proponents of the “Let go and let God” philosophy of life. But the context of this verse completely undermines this thinking.

The Israelites are standing at the edge of the Red Sea about to be obliterated by the Egyptians who are rushing in to take God’s people back into slavery. That’s when Moses utters the words of Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Watch what happens next: “Then the Lord said to Moses…Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:15-16).

So, immediately after Moses essentially says, “Let go and let God, trust him and be still,” God says, “Move on,” get going, the Egyptians are about to destroy...

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Which “chariots” and “horses” are you trusting in at work today?

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

You’ll likely see the fruit of today’s work fairly quickly. You’ll sit down at your laptop, and an hour later you’ll have a finished PowerPoint and be ready for your meeting. Or you’ll scrub in for surgery, and a few hours later your patient will be sewn up as good as new. At a minimum, you’ll go to work today, and within a couple of weeks, money will appear in your bank account as a recognition of your hard work.

With such a seemingly direct connection between our work and the results of our work, it can be easy to believe that it is our intellect, skill, and “hustle,” that is producing these results. But as today’s passage reveals, ultimately it is God alone who produces fruit in our endeavors....

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“My job is faithfulness. God’s is fruitfulness.”

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

I was recently reading Gospelbound by the editors of The Gospel Coalition when I came across these words from John Piper: “My job is faithfulness. God’s is fruitfulness.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have shared that quote in the past couple of months. It so beautifully encapsulates an idea I have written about many times before—namely that Christ-followers ought to have a unique relationship with the word “hustle.”

Let me explain.

The rise of the increasingly dominant “hustle culture” has been well documented for years now. The idea is that if you want things to happen...

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2 books of the Bible that don’t mention God

esther on work Jul 05, 2021

King Xerxes replied to Queen Esther and to Mordecai the Jew…”write another decree in the king’s name in behalf of the Jews as seems best to you, and seal it with the king’s signet ring—for no document written in the king’s name and sealed with his ring can be revoked.”…Mordecai wrote in the name of King Xerxes, sealed the dispatches with the king’s signet ring, and sent them by mounted couriers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king. The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves; to destroy, kill and annihilate the armed men of any nationality or province who might attack them and their women and children, and to plunder the property of their enemies. (Esther 8:7-8, 10-11)

There are two books of the Bible that never mention God by name: Song of Solomon and Esther, which we have been exploring these past four weeks.

But is God “absent” from these...

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God didn’t need Esther. And he doesn’t need you.

esther on work Jun 28, 2021

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

Last week, we focused on the second half of this famous verse. Today, I want to turn our attention to the first half. 

But first, a quick recap. Esther, a Jew, has been chosen to be the new queen of King Xerxes, a pagan ruler who has sanctioned plans to kill all of God’s people in his kingdom. Esther’s uncle Mordecai issues a passionate plea to his niece to use her position of influence in the palace to convince the king to stop this assault on God’s people. 

Esther eventually agrees, but check out what Mordecai said would have happened had Esther failed to act: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place” (emphasis mine).


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Has the “palace” of your work become a prison?

esther on work Jun 21, 2021

When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (Esther 4:12-16)

If you missed last week’s devotional, let me bring you up to speed. Esther has been chosen by King Xerxes to be his new queen. Xerxes has no idea that Esther is of Jewish descent, but he does know (and has...

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Esther, the Queen of Imperfect Courage

esther on work Jun 14, 2021

Then the king asked, “What is it, Queen Esther? What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given you.” “If it pleases the king,” replied Esther, “let the king, together with Haman, come today to a banquet I have prepared for him.” “Bring Haman at once,” the king said, “so that we may do what Esther asks.” So the king and Haman went to the banquet Esther had prepared. As they were drinking wine, the king again asked Esther, “Now what is your petition? It will be given you. And what is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be granted.” Esther replied, “My petition and my request is this: If the king regards me with favor and if it pleases the king to grant my petition and fulfill my request, let the king and Haman come tomorrow to the banquet I will prepare for them. Then I will answer the king’s question.” (Esther 5:3-8)

Before we dive into the details of...

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Lewis, Tolkien, and The Fellowship of the Inklings

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

Over the past three weeks, we have been dissecting J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story, Leaf by Niggle, and unpacking how this remarkable parable gives us an eternal perspective for our work.

But how can we maintain the perspective we have gained over the past few weeks? How do we “renew our minds” as Paul commands in Romans 12:2? Through study of the Word and fellowship with other believers.

Immediately after Paul commands his readers to renew their minds, he writes a long exposition on the value of the Body of Christ (see Romans 12:3-8). Why? Because Paul knew that community is essential to renewing our minds with eternal truths. 

To his credit, J.R.R. Tolkien knew this too. Throughout much of his career, Tolkien met on a near-weekly basis with a group of Christian friends famously known as “the Inklings.” The group included some of...

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Is it wrong for Christians to be discontent in their work?

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind….[My people] will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isaiah 65:17, 21-22)

We’re in a four-week series exploring the biblical truths illustrated in J.R.R. Tolkien’s remarkable parable, Leaf by Niggle. Niggle was an artist who spent years developing a massive painting of a tree. Sadly, Niggle died only having finished a single leaf. But when Niggle arrives in the heavenly afterlife, he finds his tree finished and even better than he imagined!

Last week, we saw how this story illustrates the biblical hope that there are eternal rewards tied to how we work in this life (see Colossians 3:23-24)....

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