I want to tread very carefully here and begin by saying that I wish all the hard-workers, self-made entrepreneurs and “hustlers” no ill will. I’m sure many have been inspired. I’m sure that their hearts are aimed towards helping people reach their goals and make the most of their time and opportunities in life. However, I feel that it has become incredibly important, particularly in recent weeks, to address some of the claims made popular in recent books and podcasts.
In an effort to inspire and motivate people to action and hard work, one author recently stated that when we get to heaven one day, God will introduce us to the person we could have been, had we made the most of every opportunity, hustled harder, worked more, and gone after our dreams more than we did. There are many issues with this concept when compared to the truths of Scripture. We will look at two of those now and unpack two more of them in Part 2 of this article tomorrow.
God has not called you to hustle – He has called you to walk and to rest.
We hear the word “hustle” all the time. The definitions of hustle are to “force someone to move hurriedly”, to “obtain by forceful action or persuasion”, and “busy movement or activity”.
Not one of these definitions sounds a bit like how Jesus lived or how He has called us to live. Consider these passages, for example:
Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Psalm 127:2 – “In vain you get up early and stay up late, working hard to have enough food— yes, he gives sleep to the one he loves.”
Isaiah 30:15 – “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’”
Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
First Thessalonians 4:11 – “Seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.”
Philippians 2:3-4 – “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Clearly, the Lord does emphasize the importance of a good work ethic. He does have specific good works He uniquely prepared beforehand for each of us to walk in. The pace by which we are to pursue and fulfill this work, however, is never to be one of overwhelm, hurried busyness, stressful hustle to get ahead, or selfish ambition. Instead, the Lord desires for us to rest in Him, come to Him in order to let go of our burdens and overwhelm, and to lead quiet lives. How different this is from what we hear in the hustle culture!
2. God will not criticize you when you enter heaven. He will say to you “well done good and faithful servant!”
The most disconcerting aspect of this author’s claim was that it led their audience to believe that even when we enter heaven, even after we have been saved and clothed with the righteousness of Christ and supposedly free from condemnation according to Romans 8:1, we are apparently still going to be shamed by God for not doing better or working more. Friends, this is the complete opposite of the gospel.
The good news of the gospel is that while our “good works” could never be good enough to please God and secure our access into heaven one day, we no longer have to worry about that fact! The gospel isn’t about what we accomplish, but what Christ accomplished on our behalf. It’s not about our works, but Christ’s. Therefore, when we enter heaven after a life of being His ambassadors, we won’t hear shame or condemnation for not doing “more”. We will hear the beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (see Matthew 25:14-30).
While the hustle culture would have us strive, work ourselves to a pulp, and hope that we might live up to our full potential, God calls us to walk His pace and rest in Him. What a load off!