The ( ________ ) Gospels Spotlight: Christopher Robin
Warning: Contains mild spoilers.
“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something."
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Producers: Brigham Taylor, Kristin Burr Director: Marc Forster Writer: Alex Ross Perry, Tom McCarthy, Allison Shroeder Runtime: 104 minutes Rating: PG for some action.
Scripture Reading: Hebrews 4:6-11 A thoughtful story about priorities and growing up set to the backdrop of the Hundred Acre Wood, Christopher Robin stars Ewan McGregor as a conflicted man who lost his childhood at a boarding school where his imagination was stifled and the virtues of being industrious and efficient were drilled into him. Christopher struggles to connect with his family and intends to send his daughter to the boarding school too, but must sacrifice their last holiday before she leaves when his feckless boss at a luggage company tells him he has to either cut costs or be responsible for the firing of his coworkers. Christopher then thinks he's cracked when he encounters his childhood teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, who is distressed because his friends have disappeared and wants him to return to Hundred Acre Wood to help find them.
Comparisons to Hook are often made to the film; both are about exhausted businessmen who break down over their estrangement from their families, wooing them back to childhood fantasy lands where they rediscover who they are. The most important thing the two movies have in common, however, is that neither was appreciated in its time. Reviews for Christopher Robin have been lukewarm, and (as of this writing) the movie has made under $200 million worldwide, which is tragic. The film is a love letter to Winnie-the-Pooh fans, going so far as to cast long-time Pooh and Tigger voice actor Jim Cummings in his famous roles.
Christopher Robin feels every bit like a classic Pooh adventure, from the simple scenario of looking for Winnie's lost friends to their quaint misunderstandings of everyday things. What the movie gets the most right is Pooh's simple wisdom. The inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood have inspired philosophers and theologians for decades; here, we are inundated in the most wonderful of ways with wordplays that inflict one emotional gut-punch after another. The film is so powerful that it should serve as the end of the Disney-Era Winnie-the-Pooh and as Cummings' final bow. It's also filled with callbacks like Pooh sticks, the “Up and Down” song, and a few deep cuts so surprising that I wouldn't dare spoil them, but the most touching is the movie's use of the famous exchange about Pooh's favorite day, Today.
The bible has a lot to say about Today as well: it's the day God has given us to rest. And yet, through the ages, we and our spiritual ancestors have struggled to understand this gift. The word for it is Sabbath, and the value of Sabbath is the heart of the movie. In a world that believes only nothing can come from nothing, both scripture and Winnie-the-Pooh remind us that nothing can lead to the very best something.
Though honoring the Sabbath is one of the Big Ten, modern believers aren't as militant about it as their earlier counterparts, who treated the commandment as rigidly as any other law – punishing those who broke it. We can miss the mark, too, drawing our stance on the Sabbath from Jesus in Mark 2:27 while also ignoring His point. Jesus said the Sabbath was made for Man and not the other way around, but that doesn't mean it's negotiable; God made the Sabbath because He knows we need rest! We have God's blessing to do the very thing our bodies long for, but we refuse to do it because we base our value on productivity – a conundrum so head-scratching that Pooh would likely be in his thoughtful spot for years trying to figure it out.
That said, everyone's workload is different. Some are blessed with the traditional 9 to 5; others juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet (and some while raising kids and/or going to school). It isn't always possible to rest on Sundays (just ask a pastor), but rest is every bit as productive as being productive. It freshens and heals us. It opens our minds for solutions we can't discover when we're too close to our work. Most importantly, rest frees us for what really matters. One of those things is faith. God didn't just give us a day off; He gave us an invitation to be with Him. Like Winnie-the-Pooh waiting for Christopher Robin, God waits for us. We might forget Him in our hustle, but He never stops thinking of us. Whether it's Friday, Sunday, or even “Windsday,” if you're looking for that rest, there is no better day than Today.
- Do you have a hard time finding rest? Why?
- Does your current schedule provide a healthy balance? If not, what priorities are being overlooked?
Jason Korsiak is a writer and speaker based out of Weeki Wachee, FL. If you enjoyed this devotional, check out his books here.