Sonny VU on The ‘Why’ Behind Work: Creativity, Meaningful Productivity, and Worship (Video)

Video / Produced by partner of TOW

Company builder Sonny Vu felt out of place sharing his job title in a Christian small group until Jeff Van Duzer helped him see the ‘Why’ behind his work in business.


I still remember very distinctly: we were sitting around a circle and we’re going around introducing ourselves, you know, “What do you do?” “I’m a social worker / a nurse / a teacher / a pastor.” And it got to me: “Well, what do you do?”

I had a really hard time answering that – this after I started doing the entrepreneurship thing. I honestly just said, “You know, I’m a business guy and I really like making money.” And, uh, (laughs) I felt really out of place, I had to say.

It made me really think, “Oh man, are there other people who, I don’t know, is there a calling to business? Is there such a thing?” Maybe you can’t. Maybe I’m just supposed to donate money. I’ll fund you or I’ll donate if you want to be a missionary or something, but I’m not a missionary because I didn’t think business people could be missionaries.

And then one thing led to another. I got into Jeff Van Duzer’s talk on theology of work and it just blew me away. He talked about purpose and work. What is the purpose of business? Previously I guess the answer if I were to say, “What is the purpose of work?” - the automatic Christian answer would be to glorify God. Or maximizing shareholder value. That’s what we’re supposed to say, one of those two answers, right? But neither one of those were sufficient to me in terms of “okay, well, how do I work with this?”

[Jeff] broke it out into two things: 1) to provide goods and services to enable communities to flourish, and 2) to create opportunities for people to express their innate capacity for creativity and productivity in meaningful ways. That became really a foundation for how we wanted to build a business and why we wanted to build a business.

I wouldn’t want the purpose of work to be just to find a bunch of money so we could donate to a church. That would feel like I’d be missing a very important part of why: why I’m doing what I’m doing. If the why is intrinsic to what I’m doing, then what I’m doing is the worship.

Business is worship. Business is this expression of gifts given to you and given back. But if work in and of itself can’t be intrinsically the why - itself the act of worship – then that seems like it’d be really hard work.

Watch the full Faith & Co. film series from Seattle Pacific University.

This video serves as an illustration to the TOW Bible Commentary article Human Creativity with God (Psalm 104).