Respect the Hustle

It is true that potential is not production.  As a minor sports fan, I have seen athletes lauded, selected and compensated on the basis of what they might do.  Sometimes, the projections work out and, sometimes, they don’t.  Such is the nature of prognostication.  In that and other worlds, the desire to obtain the next big thing may conflict with sound reasoning and contradict more studied rational.  In any field of endeavor, a bird in the hand is most valuable while finding the bird in the first place more variable.  When questioned about why Michael Jordan was not the first pick of his NBA draft class, John Thompson, legendary Georgetown basketball coach, replied, “Let’s face it.  Nobody knew what Michael Jordan was going to be.”

Talent is not the key to progress.  Now, it is better to have talent in any endeavor than to lack ability, but there are troves of talented people who never actualized their abilities.  To be fair, there may be many reasons that talent goes unrequited.  The Bible tells us that speed and strength are not the only determiners in race or battle.  I would rather be gifted than empty-handed, but giftedness alone will not bring home the bacon.  Unhappy circumstance, indolence, stress or a host of other unwelcomed guests may crash the life or career party and wreak havoc before the cops shut it down.  Skill gives a fair and fairly reliably forecast but is not a stand-alone predictor of the future.  Frustration follows floundering.

Hard work does not always guarantee success.  While we are not taught this explicitly, it is, nonetheless, a general principle we are led to believe.  Couple this with the fact that being industrious is a good and admirable quality, and we have a truism widely accepted, even trusted, as a societal norm.  Sometimes, it is, indeed, true.  Very often, however, good and laborious works are unrewarded in any substantive way.  I can make the other side of the argument from an eternal standpoint, but that is not the purpose of this discourse.  Life contains few guarantees, and one cannot expect remuneration regardless of sacrifice or valor.  Perfect world is one thing, but we do not live in a perfect world.  At least, not yet.

While I admire the trappings of success and grant some weight to statistical analyses, I have learned through observation and experience that the tallies do not tell the tale.  Many valuable and valiant efforts never achieve their promise, and some things that seem noteworthy at once don’t pass the smell test in the end.  The biblical truth that people observe the surface while God looks beneath is found to be true again and again.  Life is not fair, which cautionary tale stings each time it is encountered.  In view of these truths, I have come to a different perspective than some and have found commonality with others.  I respect the hustle.  My admiration is given to those who do their best and stay with hard tasks.

Each of us has a set of gifts given by our Maker.  Many positive and negative qualities were not products of choice.  In no way are any of us alike and opportunities may be individualized, as well.  However, there are two areas in which we are all equal.  Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day, and all of us can do our best.  I believe that God respects our efforts when they are committed to Him and righteousness.  No one can really add anything to God, and His cause would be fine if any of us were suddenly removed.  We should not overestimate our importance or underestimate the eternal value of commitment.  Well does Scripture say that we serve the Lord in whatever areas we find ourselves employed.


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