By Joseph Sunde
When struggling with work that wounds — work that is “cross-bearing, self-denying, and life-sacrificing,” as Lester DeKoster describes it — we can content ourselves by remembering that God is with us in the workplace. Whether we know it or not, our work has meaning.
These are powerful truths, but God has not left us with mere head knowledge and philosophical upgrades. When we give our lives to Christ and choose a path of transformation and obedience, the fruits of the Spirit manifest in real and tangible ways, despite our circumstances. We find meaning, but we also experience peace, patience, and joy, even when it doesn’t make sense.
In Music Box, a classic Christian film from the early 1980s, we see an apt demonstration of this. The joy of the Lord is not some abstract happy feeling. It is, indeed, our strength, and it empowers us in real and noticeable ways through the application of mind to hands and hands to creative service. The Gospel breathes new life, even into the most dark and plodding situations.
Watch it here:
In the film, we see a tired and moping man who lives a life of drudgery at a factory, followed by plenty of misery and disconnect at home. The solution? On his way home from work, he stumbles upon a mysterious music box that triggers a chorus of angels. God reminds him of the gift of Jesus — a lesson that sets the man on a path of newfound joy. Though tempted to keep it to himself, God continues to stretch his generosity throughout the film.
In short, he’s awakened to the reality that all is gift.
It’s dated, kitschy, and more than a bit cheesy. Many would shrug it off as a fairly straightforward Gospel message. Yet the Gospel is as simple a solution as our wounding work and family dysfunction requires: the life-transforming, joy-infusing power of the blood of Christ.
“When God gives a gift, he gives it unto you,” the lead angel sings. “Not to keep or store, but spread a joy anew.”
As we pursue stewardship for the glory of God, let’s remember that we need more than a strong theology of work or a grand philosophical framework. All of that is an empty shell without a full-blown invasion of the love of Jesus and the joy of the Lord.