If you’re not adding value to another person’s life, then what are you doing here?
It’s a profound question. And profound questions warrant very thoughtful and deliberate answers.
God could have created each one of us to live in isolation on a deserted island, but He didn’t. Instead, He made us to dwell in community with one another in the context of family, friendships, partnerships, and in varying degrees of relationship. Community undoubtedly involves sharing and depositing, but many times we are not sharing and depositing what matters most. On the contrary, in some cases, we have been making large withdrawals from others with no intention of making larger deposits.
Is that you? Are you draining others of their emotional, mental, spiritual, and material resources while contributing little in return?
The late pastor and Bible teacher Adrian Rogers once said that some people are here just to draw—to draw a salary, to draw in fresh air, or just to (with)draw from others—but not to deposit into others. He was right.
He made us to dwell in community with one another in the context of family, friendships, partnerships, and in varying degrees of relationship.
As God’s children, we can add value to others because we have value ourselves. We have great value simply because God created us with value. The psalmist reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and all of God’s works are marvelous (139:14). In all of God’s creation, we are the most remarkable! We are made in the image and the likeness of Almighty God (Gen. 1:27). No other aspect of God’s creation can boast of His goodness and glean from His law with an astounding intellectual capacity. But even with all our attributes, we may still be negligent in adding value to others as we should.
Adding value is a selfless act.
At the heart of it is emptying ourselves of the “me first” inclination that is so prominent and predominant in this world system. If we are going to add value to others, we must be willing to give our time, our resources, and our wise counsel gained through the Holy Spirit’s illumination of God’s Word to us. It takes sincere effort and earnest dedication to add significant value to others.
So how we do it? Add value to others. Here are just a few ways.
- Live according to the Word of God. Though none of us are perfect, it must be our aim to grow spiritually and mature in the faith. Our words mean more when our actual living and our words are congruent. When we live like Christ consistently, the impact upon others will be lasting. It really is our responsibility to encourage one another, since we live in community with one another. We are encouraged when we see others living successfully, even in the rough times, in the hope of God’s promises.
- Pray for them. Prayer has far-reaching ability! Oftentimes we can’t be there physically, but our earnest prayers will reach the heart of God. James affirms that the effective, fervent prayers of the righteous can accomplish much (5:16). Prayers influences change! And since we want God to hear and favorably answer our prayers, we must live righteously and responsibly.
- Affirm their worth as recorded in Scripture. What is worth more than how we see people is how God sees them. Since we know the penetrative power of the Word of God, we also know its ability to break down barriers in the mind, leading to stagnation and feelings of inferiority.
- Give your time. Make room for others. This must be intentional, particularly since our natural tendency is to be selfish with our time. Of course, setting boundaries is important, but within the framework of community, we must be willing to engage others regularly. It’s the most helpful part of relating to others, letting them see how we live in the context of our Christian faith.
Christ is our example; He spent three and a half years adding value to His disciples . . . praying for them, spending time with them, and affirming their worth.
We do need others to come alongside to strengthen and encourage us. Not one of us is exempt from those needs.
The depositing should be mutual, and it should be expansive. As we deposit value into those within our sphere of influence, others will be more inclined to deposit value into those within their own sphere of influence. And so, the cycle continues, and the expansion grows.
We should always be asking ourselves, “Is what I’m doing or what I desire to do going to build God’s kingdom here on earth and add value to others?” When we include these two parameters in our decision making, we are cultivating a mindset that is conducive to adding worth. And God is pleased (Phil. 2:1-4).