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...
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...
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....
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...