“Good work…does not disassociate life and work, or pleasure and work, or love and work.”
These words, written by Wendell Berry, pulse throughout the work of Laremy De Vries, owner and chef of The Fruited Plain Café, a sandwich and coffee shop in Sioux Center, Iowa.
For De Vries, our work unites general revelation with special revelation, yielding an opportunity for “valuing the created world not only insofar as it belongs to God in a sphere sovereignty sense, but also in the general revelation sense.” The work of our hands reveals far more than we tend to believe.
In a video from Our Daily Bread, he explains this further, showing how such a perspective transforms his approach to his business and community:
As De Vries explains, our work is meant to reveal the glory of God:
Coffee obviously is creation, and everything that exists is somehow derived from God’s original way that he wanted to reveal himself to humanity. It was meant to speak to us. It was meant to reveal things about the nature of God to us…
If we take coffee and don’t roast it well. If we take coffee and don’t grow it well. If we take coffee and don’t brew it well, we’re missing out on not really understanding the full ways in which God wanted to reveal himself to us through a delicious cup of coffee…
I love to glorify God in my products, but I also love to glorify God in having a space where community can be created and where I can welcome the stranger, and welcome whoever walks in my doors and treat them with love and respect.
We talk a lot about how our work is fundamentally service to others and thus to God. This is important, but we mustn’t forget that such service takes place in and through God’s created order. Our work itself — our acts of service to others — will sing of God’s glory. But so should the products we create and the places we endeavor to cultivate.
This, after all, is God’s oikonomia: uniting the work of our hands and the stuff of the earth with his plans and purposes for mankind.