We work hard at life. We try to get better jobs, better homes, better relationships, and even a better spirituality. We are like Jacob in the Old Testament. His name means "striver, schemer, supplanter, hustler." He could have been the poster boy for the American Dream. But author Craig Barnes says this is not the way we should be living our lives. We should not try to manipulate and hustle ourselves into a place of advantage with God, a position that has been ours all along. After all, God is the one who climbed down the ladder to be with us. Using true anecdotes from the men, women, and families of the churches he has served, Barnes invites hard-running, stressed-out, burned-out people to stop striving. Life is not something we grasp and clutch to us, but a gift God freely gives. Only when we open our hands can God fill them with the blessings he has been waiting to lavish upon us all along.
M. Craig Barnes is pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His previous books are Yearning, Hustling God, and When God Interrupts.