In NYC, everyone has, as my good friend Justin over at Super-Tangent says...a hustle. Everyone's running around trying to make a buck. I actually heard a little kid (I mean little...5 years old, maybe) talking about how "you got to diversify...you gotta get that money and make it work for you". Really? This has gotten out of hand! Look, I feel the need for money just like the next guy! We're currently wrapping up the school year here in NYC before heading to Nashville where we don't yet have jobs. Oh & did I mention that my eldest daughter is going to college in the fall. I get the need for money. But, as a follower of Christ, I also understand that our current situation is right where God wants us to be. There are so many verses to hold tight to during times like these. Sure, I could mention the obvious ones like...
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." - Proverbs 3:5
"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:19
But I'm not going to mention those. Instead, I'd like to point you towards a story in the book of Jeremiah, a story of idolatry. Yeah, I know...what's the big deal right! In our culture, we've somehow held this word in high esteem. Let me set the stage...In the book of Jeremiah, the Jewish people have begun to make idols of one form or another. Some blatant, & some (like money) not so obvious. But eventually, God just gets fed up & in the beginning of chapter 17 he lays down the gauntlet...
“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars, while their children remember their altars and their Asherim, beside every green tree and on the high hills, on the mountains in the open country. Your wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, for in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.” -Jeremiah 17:1-4
WOW...that sets a tone! My God is loving, compassionate, caring & oh yeah, at times...Angry! Look, as I said before, I get the need for money, but have we taken it so far as to make it an idol?
In many ways, we've made it THE most important thing in our lives. As that little boy said..."You gotta get that money". The problem is that in our attempt to "get that money, we've taken God out of the equation. We've become our own God. "I" can do all things, but we forget that it goes on to say...through "HIM" who strengthens me. Verses 5-9 says this.
"Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" - Jeremiah 17:5-9
There it is right there. Our heart is deceitful! But did you catch the part about the tree? Daily I strive to be that tree that bears fruit. I want this tree to be weighed down with so much fruit that people can't help but stop to see what's going on. I understand that you gotta do what you gotta do to put food on the table & a roof over your head, especially if you have a family to support. Look, I was a Pastor a month ago & now I'm a Postmate (actually, I'm still a Pastor, it just looks different now). I certainly didn't see that coming, but you gotta do what you gotta do. The difference is that my hustle is for His Glory & not my own. And man, I hustle about 10-20 miles a day now.
So...get out there and hustle! Just know who you're hustlin' for. Make that money...just don't worship it. It all came from God in the first place. It would be good for us all to remember that.