Hard work is a virtue. But Scripture warns of its vice.
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 …
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