Editor’s Note: To get the free 72-hour rental, visit The Gospel Coalition, download the current episode and enter the code provided. The July 21 episode is “Creative Service,” and the code is “TGC3”.
The Gospel Coalition is promoting a new short film series from the Acton Institute called “For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles.” Each Monday, The Gospel Coalition will offer a coupon to watch a film in the series for free (normal rental price is $1.99 for a three-day rental). It will continue to offer a coupon for each subsequent film in the seven-part series (July 21, July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 11, Aug. 18).
This week, Ethan asks the question, “What is the role of our work in God’s economy of all things?” Too often, we think of our work in terms of utility, like we’re just another cog in the huge corporate machine. Or as a way to meet our needs — just to get a paycheck to provide for our families or to be able to afford the things we really want to do on the weekends. Or a way to feel important or rise to the top or be the best. All of those views are focused on self. To illustrate this point, Ethan and Dwight rewrote the book, “The Giving Tree” as “The Ungiving Tree” and read it to a table full of children. Imagine their response to a tree that decides to hoard all of its gifts — fruit and leaves and branches and trunk — for itself rather than share them with the world!
In response, Steve and Ethan (again in a quirky, hipster-ish and cinematically beautiful way) explore what work really is — a way for us, those created in God’s image, to be like Him, the Creator, and make something of the world. Our calling is to use our gifts and unique places in the world to create something for the good of the world together. Each person has their own part to play. Each person is a vital part in this economy of work.
It’s funny. Steve’s description of the process of the collaboration of work could seem very similar to the false view mentioned in the opening as being just a cog in a great big machine. The two scenarios might look the same on the outside – each person playing a part that works together to make a finished product – until you get the difference: in God’s economy, “what we’re creating is not just product, it’s relationship.” God doesn’t just value the finished product; He values the work of each individual person along the way, no matter how “big” or how “small.”
May this week’s video inspire you to ask yourself what your unique place in God’s economy is. What gifts you can offer to the world? How you can give ALL of yourself in your work, just as the real Giving Tree gave?