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Having reached a milestone age, my natural tendency is to now “look down the road”. I am challenging myself, and others, with questions about the future. A key question is, “What do I want to do with the next 10 years of my life?” My answer comes easily, “I WANT MY LIFE TO CREATE VALUE!”
Before value can be created, however, it MUST be defined. The dictionary gives a simple definition to value: assigned worth. But by whom is worth to be assigned? And on what merit?
The world around us primarily places value on what is tangible. It appeals to our senses through what we can experience or acquire. It’s hard to recall the last time I saw or heard an advertisement promoting something NOT tangible! Yet when I consider what brings the most value to life, I don’t believe it is what is external. Jesus supports this in Luke 16:15 (NIV), when He admonished the Pharisees on this very issue. Mincing no words, He clearly stated, “What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”
If we desire to please God, then these words of Jesus should stir us to ask what HE says is of greatest value. We see another example in Philippians 3, when the Apostle Paul also denounces his external “claim to fame”. What he once considered profitable, or valuable, is now counted as loss compared to knowing Jesus as His Lord.
There is a reason advertisement is successful in defining value. I believe we are all wired to seek and engage in what we find pleasurable. Please don’t hear what I’m NOT saying. I don’t believe Scripture teaches that engaging in experiences or purchasing that which brings personal pleasure and joy is sinful. What I am suggesting is that we must question how to manage the pleasures we create for ourselves. We must ensure they don’t become more important to us than they really should be.
Creating True and Lasting Value
For those of us no longer fully employed, we find ourselves in a unique and delicate position. Will we seek the Lord on how He would have us use this gift of time to create value for His Kingdom? Or will we only seek our own enjoyment? In Romans 12:11, Paul writes, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” This instruction is directed to ALL followers of Christ, irrespective of age or season of life. Is anything of greater value than a life of obedience reflected in worship and service to God? Sadly, I don’t hear many asking how God may want to use their lives to create value.
Personally, I have defined value as that which has eternal worth. I often recall the words ascribed to Jesus in Acts 20:35, “it is better to give than to receive.” I want to use my time, talents, and resources to invest in what will not be destroyed when the Lord returns (2 Peter 3:10-11). A practical way this translates is by being intentional about the impact and influence my life has on others. I endeavor to live in a way that reflects the wonder and faithfulness of God.
How Will You Create Value?
I challenge you to define value for yourself. Seek to be wise and purposeful in creating value in the lives of others. Yes, enjoy the travel you worked hard to make possible, and the golfing for which you now have time. AND give Him your life in a way that reflects how much He loves you. Remain willing to surrender your own pleasures in obedience to serving God with purpose. Will you join me in passionately and intentionally living for what is of eternal value?