Hidden Nuggets Series #12 – “Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’ They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” Matthew 4:19-20
The title of this post makes me laugh. Who would have thought the words “Jesus” and “side hustle” could be used to communicate a personal finance idea?
Unless you’ve just emerged from a remote tribal region in South America, you’ve probably heard of this really good preacher named Jesus who lived several millennia ago, who many claim to be the spiritual Savior for all mankind. (Count me among that group.) But you may be unfamiliar with the term “side hustle.” Rest assured it has nothing to do with Pete Rose diving head first into third base or Paul Newman and Robert Redford conning their way to a fortune in The Sting.
Having a side hustle refers to someone pursuing a secondary stream of income earned aside from their full time job. So for instance, generating income from a blog on the side or delivering pizzas at night after work would be classified as side hustle money. Many times side hustles line up with a person’s passion and if hustled on long enough with success, could allow them to transition from their full time job into that hustle. At the very minimum, the extra money they bring in provides some breathing room in the monthly budget.
The potential side hustle ideas are limitless, only confined to the depth of imagination of what you could come up with to make money. J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy has a whole series devoted to people who are creatively pursuing a side hustle.
I admit the idea of Jesus having a “business-on-the-side” is purely speculative on my part and may amount to doctrinal heresy. But the idea is not without precedent in the Bible.
Jesus and His Side Hustle
The Old Testament prophet Amos maintained a full-time job as a sheep-herder while tending sycamore trees on the side. Similarly, the great New Testament missionary Paul is known to have supported his mission work by making and selling tents.
The Bible gives no clear word that Jesus did any extra work to earn a living once he began his ministry. In fact, his full-time job of teaching wasn’t designed to produce income as far as I can see. But it’s a logical conclusion he could have been earning money on the side considering what we know about his upbringing, his ministry timeline, and those who served with him.
Clearly Jesus and his disciples possessed era specific skills that were suitable to produce side hustle income. He himself was a carpenter, trained under his father Joseph’s watchful eye. His disciples were mostly uneducated men but skilled in the art of fishing. We know the group of disciples had a treasurer who kept a moneybag. Where did that money come from? Was it only from people Jesus ministered to who chose to support him financially?
Think about this – Jesus’ ministry lasted around three years. The events detailing his life in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John do not contain enough stories to fill each day of the calendar for three years. Sometimes we read through those books like the events of his life happened back to back, day in and day out. That is not the case. There are huge gaps – silent periods – where Jesus’ activities are not discussed. Where was he going and what was he doing in all that time we know nothing about?
Could he have been hired to make a kitchen table for someone when he wasn’t traveling from town to town healing the sick? Were the disciples out fishing and selling their catch at the marketplace on their day off? Did they help any of the local farmers in the fields? Was the tax collector turned disciple Matthew hired again during the Roman tax season to collect Jewish revenue owed the government?
Whether or not Jesus had a side hustle we will probably never know. The issue of side hustles in general is legit though. Many people have found their way out of debt or into a better quality of life because they chose to diversify their revenue stream. As long as one has the time, need and desire they are worth exploring.
Questions: What side hustle are you working on now? How are you using the money earned in your side hustle? How do you manage your time between work, family and side hustle?
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