Two Different Views


I recently encountered a horribly sad bit of advice.

It was one of those Facebook memes – I know, not the best place to seek eternal wisdom. Still, I thought it somewhat distressing that anyone might offer this sort of guidance.

Find others before you need them.

What a narrow, transactional view of relationships. I hope we’re not accumulating people so they’ll be around when they can do something for us.

So, you’re wondering, do I have a better idea? As a matter of fact, I do.

Find others before they need you.

What if we expand our circle, bring in as many folks as possible, with the idea that someday we might be able to serve them? What if it’s not about what we get, but what we can give?

So much in current culture revolves around short-term gains and who’s getting the best deal. With that mindset, a high-quality contact list becomes a treasured asset. Connections are based on a single core question: What can you do for me?

Immediate political expediency always seeks an edge, a way to spin circumstances to create personal advantage. It ignores long-term values, principles, keeping promises, the notion of sacrifice for something bigger than yourself. It turns relationships into transactions in which the goal is simple: Win!

I hope we’re not sitting around the table because we might get something out of it. I hope we don’t see our companions as potential competitors in some made-up game we need to win.

Let’s add seats and invite people to join us because Jesus invites us to a big, diverse table. Let’s make it about serving rather than being served. Let’s ask a different core question:

What can I do for you?