“Value” denotes the regard or esteem placed on something or someone. In this instance, think of value as it relates to people. We are made in the image of God and have the opportunity to place value on the people we encounter in our lives.
We have many opportunities in a day. For me, it all relates to how I begin my day in those first moments of consciousness. It is my habit to whisper a “good morning” to God, thank Him for allowing me breath and life for another day, ask for His guidance, and for my eyes to “see” and ears to “hear” what He wants me to do that day. This is my first contact of the day and the most important one that I value. Time spent with the Lord influences the rest of my interactions for the day. When I skip it, there is a marked difference.
Every day, we will have myriad encounters, beginning with our family, fellow road travelers, co-workers, clients and more. In addition to those daily engagements, there are many brief interactions with others, such as the cashier at the grocery store and the person in line next to us at the coffee shop. These contacts are potentially significant as the sun rises, progresses toward the sunset and closes a day that will never be repeated.
Do you ever wake up and think about how every day is unique? What would change if we purposely start our day by recognizing this truth? We like to say that some experiences are seemingly a waste of time, “That is an hour of my life I can never get back!” This is true, of course. Placing value on the time we spend and the people we meet go hand in hand. Does my focus on using my time to accomplish tasks take precedence over engaging with and caring for people? People are more lonely and feel less connected in our constantly “connected” world today than ever before. The interactions we have today will increase or decrease for those placed in our path.
What value do we place on acknowledging our fellow travelers? Are we aware and engaged, or are our heads buried in our cell phones texting, talking and scrolling? Do we take time to smile and acknowledge people by making eye contact? Do we look for a name badge on the shirt of people who provide a service and speak their name, placing value on them as more than just a figure behind the counter? Do we look up from our computers and take a few minutes to listen to a co-worker’s heart? As a recruiter, when I speak to a client, do I listen well and ask questions about her to better understand how a new work culture will impact her family life and values? If she shares a recent loss or challenge, do I acknowledge the difficulty and offer encouragement? Our encounters should be more than transactional. We are seeking to love our neighbors and place value on them.
What about the ones who live in our own homes? Are their words and presence acknowledged so they can see the value we place upon them? Do we practice stopping what we are doing and actively listening? Do we still “see” them, or are they fixtures that we expect to be there?
We all have responsibilities, jobs to do, goals to reach and many duties to attend to, but if we miss the main thing, placing value on the people who cross our paths each day, some for a season and others for a lifetime, we will have missed everything.
You have an intrinsic value placed upon you by your Creator, a friend. Your God-given talents and gifts are not to be hidden away but shared for the benefit of others. Speak that word of encouragement. Smile and offer a warm greeting. Ask with sincerity how someone is doing today, not just as a passing pleasantry, but with intention. Listen with interest and let people know they matter.
Today, let’s ask God to give us eyes to “see” what matters in His economy, and take time to acknowledge those whom He places in our path. We all get busy and fall short in this area. Someone is in need of a smile, a touch, a kind word, the sound of their name on our lips, a prayer, an ear, an extra cup of coffee brought back from Starbucks, an invitation to a neighbor, or a gift of listening. Placing a high value on our fellow travelers through this life will add value to our own. See with fresh eyes what a difference your life can make.