By Chuck Dennie
Snap a pic of you getting it done and make sure to include #hustle . . .
We live in a world where we compare our lives with the highlight reels we see displayed on our social media channels. The latest buzzword #hustle has been elevated to rock-star status. #hustle has even become a platform on which some leaders are standing . . . at least until that platform crumbles. I have been that leader.
I am an ENTJ with a top strength of competition on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality inventory. ENTJ + competition = hustle. I have hustled my whole life. I hustled in sports to make up for my lack of athletic ability. I hustle in leadership to make up for my inadequacies. I hustle to make more money out of fear of scarcity. I hustle in life to beat everyone else. Ouch. Putting these statements on paper helps me understand that the more I learn, the less I know. It also helps me understand why I burn out so easily. What am I searching for? Why am I running so hard and so fast? We live in a world that rewards hustle, a world that applauds those who make it to the top and get there the fastest. I wonder if there is a better way.
Grace is a consistent theme in Scripture, and I’ll admit, grace is hard for me to understand. You mean I get something I don’t deserve? For free? You don’t want anything in return? This is how The Message paraphrases Ephesians 2:7-10:
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
Paul also wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The more I read the Word of God, the more I tune out the pressure to hustle. The more I read the Word of God, the more I realize I can build my platform on the foundation of Jesus alone. The more I read the Word of God, the more courage I have to be vulnerable and the less temptation I have to perform. The more I read the Word of God, the more I believe this to be true: When hustle and grace collide, grace will win every time.
Are you caught in the hustle of ministry? Are you starting to burn out? I’ll leave you with words from a song I love, “By Your Side,” cowritten by my good friend Mike Donehey. The song begins with two questions:
Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
And it ends with these words that you and I need to remember each day:
‘Cause I’ll be by your side wherever you fall,
In the dead of night whenever you call.
And please don’t fight these hands that are holding you.
My hands are holding you.
Chuck Dennie is an award-winning musician, producer, and director. He was a founding member of By the Tree and worship leader and campus pastor for Life.Church. He serves as creative director with The Crossing, Quincy, Illinois, and lives in Franklin, Tennessee. Chuck can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.