Acton Institute Powerblog

Value Creation for the Glory of God

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The real estate crisis led to plenty of finger-pointing and blame-shifting, but for Phoenix real estate developer Walter Crutchfield, it led to self-examination and spiritual reflection.

“The real estate crash brought me to a place of stepping back and evaluating,” Crutchfield says. “I could see where I lost sight of the individual intrinsic value of work, of individuals, of community…Rather than asking ‘is the demand reasonable?,’ we just serviced it, and now we had a chance to think about what we had done.”

In yet another marvelous video from Nathan Clarke and Christianity Today’s This Is Our City project, Crutchfield shares his journey from seeing work as aimless toil to being driven by the prospect of value creation:

Crutchfield concludes that work “pleases God,” and that through its fundamental function of serving others, it “declares the glory of God…just because it is.” For Crutchfield, this basic realization transformed his entire approach to doing business, leading him to focus on creating “real value,” rather than simply going through the motions.

Lester DeKoster makes a similar connection between work, service, and worship, noting that “work gives meaning to life because it is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others,” and thus, to the Lord. “God himself chooses to be served through the work that serves others.”

Read more of Crutchfield’s story here.

Work: The Meaning of Your LifePurchase DeKoster’s Work: The Meaning of Your Life.

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Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.


  • Curt Day

    There is something more that needs to be added here for the Christian. It isn’t just how we do what we do which reflects our faith. It is our willingness to think critically regarding whatever business we are in to see if their success comes at the expense of others welfare and rights.

    • Don’t you think that what Crutchfield is getting at when he reflects and says, “Rather than asking, ‘Is the demand reasonable?’, we just serviced it.”

      • Curt Day

        You are asking a fair question. My distinction here is that we have look outside of the sector or business to determine if what our success comes at the expense of the welfare and rights of others. This looking to the outside is looking for the externalities of the function of a business. For example, suppose a drop in the price of gas allows more people to become more mobile. One question we could then ask is, how does the consumption of more gas hurt the environment? In addition, we might ask is if there is a link between the cheaper gas and how the people of the land from where the gas is obtained are treated.

        • Joseph Sunde

          As Jordan said, I think Crutchfield covers (both) your comment(s). Indeed, it’s one of his primary points.

          • Curt Day

            Can you tell me how he covered externalities?

          • Joseph Sunde

            I see. You’re wanting to emphasize a particular angle. When Crutchfield talks about re-orienting his thinking around the other, I took those as a given piece of that.

          • Curt Day


            Why should there be an exclusive or for the Christian. Crutchfield is correct in talking about how we relate to customers and we can extend that immediate stakeholders. But there are externalities to be concerned with as well. There is nothing that is limiting us to pay attention to only one angle here.

          • Joseph Sunde

            Yup. We agree that externalities matter. Crutchfield is talking about serving the other. You heard that as “customer,” I heard that as “everyone.” Thanks for emphasizing.

  • What an amazing story. We should all strive to find such connectedness and meaning in our everyday lives, particularly when it comes to work.