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Ep. 400 Your Value to Others Comes from What You Provide

Ep. 400 Your Value to Others Comes from What You Provide

Shows Main Idea – The most popular people are those who do things for others. If you have something to give, a product or service, for example, people will want what you have to offer. Generally speaking, most people will leave you alone if you have nothing to give. This concept might sound strange on the surface, but it is how God wants us to live: He has asked us to love Him and others more than ourselves. Thus, our instinctive orientation should be outward, not inward. However, this concept has complicating factors that need our attention.

Show Notes

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Serve Me, Please

How many people do you “visit” because they have something to offer? Walmart clerk, paint store team member, grocery checkout lady, bank teller, your favorite barista. I’m sure in thirty minutes you could come up with dozens of these helpful people who serve you.

Let’s say that all of them lost their jobs. You would be sad, but your relationship with them would probably end. You did not go to these businesses because they were there, but because of what they provided for you.

I’m in the counseling business, and I have thousands of friends. If I stopped counseling, my thousands of friends would disappear—for the most part. They want what I have—intellectual property. They would not even know I existed if it were not for what I provided.

Rent-a-Friend

Upon realizing that folks were “using me” for what I provided, I became discouraged. One lady told me during counseling that I was a “rent-a-friend.” I wrote about it here. We laughed. Then I thought about it. I stopped laughing. I realized if it were not for my “service,” she, too, would have no interest in me. This problem is fundamental for all of us.

Sometimes I hear people complain something like this: “We left the church, and nobody sought us out. Obviously, we did not matter to them.” I understand the sentiment, but it’s not precisely on target. Some of the church folks did care for them and enjoyed their company, but they left and were no longer in their sphere network.

Would you track down your Walmart clerk after she left your routine life, those places you typically visit? Few will seek you out if you leave the church where you mainly were connected. They met you at corporate meetings, small group gatherings, and other church functions. You’re no longer in their regular travel routes. Hardly would anyone add another pin on their “friendship map” to see you. Would you?

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Relationship Circle

Think about your life as a circle with your regular routine all around the ring. Each day, week, or month you go places, e.g., school, church, work, neighborhood, grocery, gas, dentist, parents, church friends, and more. Then a church member leaves and goes to another church where they pin that church onto their “circle.”

Let’s say five people left your church and did similarly. There is no way you could consistently flow in and out of your routine and into their regular travel and relational loop. Perhaps they should have given you a call or email, but that’s a lesser matter.

God’s world is like a large vineyard, and sometimes He moves His laborers to different spots of the field. We see this with Abraham, Elijah, and, of course, John the Baptist was nomadic as you could be. I do not see this as bad news or even a separation; it’s an expansion of relationships, memories, and the Lord’s good work.

“Our two souls therefore, which are one, though I must go, endure not yet a breach, but an expansion, like gold to airy thinness beat.” –John Donne

Helpful Tips

  1. When separation happens, there is a void, no question. If you move across town, to a new town, or land on a mission field, you will experience loneliness.
  2. At all times, remember that God values you, and He has not moved. Do not move away from Him, or your isolation will worsen.
  3. Understand that most people value you conditionally, which means for what you offer or if you’re currently in their regular routine.
  4. Do not elevate the necessity of jumping from their circle to yours because you could not maintain that type of schedule.
  5. Create your close friends wherever they are. These friends are life-long. It’s a smaller group, i.e., five or fewer. For example, Lucia has an almost forty-year friendship with someone she met in high school. We live states apart from them, but she is a true friend to my wife. When Lucia had her miscarriages, her friend was there (on the phone). She brought much comfort to my wife.
  6. Best friends stick with you while you have the opportunity to serve the public domain for whatever time you have with them. You want to love God and others more than yourself, so you “sprinkle Christ” wherever you can, hoping the good Lord will cause growth in that part of the vineyard.

Call to Action

  1. Do you have a close friend? Who is this person? Perhaps calling them today would bless both of you.
  2. Do you become discouraged by all the demands from those other friends? How do you manage all the requests? It’s essential to learn the value of saying “no,” or you will burn out while becoming a cynical and bitter Christian. If you do not know how to manage your time, you must find someone to help you.
  3. Why should every Christian have more people wanting something from them than the number of close, intimate friends in their lives? Why is this a good thing? Speculate on the possibilities of what the Lord could do through you by loving Him and others more.
  4. Do you know how to live inside the ditches? In one ditch is isolation, retreating and in the other ditch is overwhelmed by requests and people problems.
  5. Will you listen to Ep. 399 How to Identify and Benefit from Genuine Relationships about how to build genuine relationships?

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