Valuing the Individual

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By Darren Lim, reprinted from the Salt & Light Australia Daily Devotional.

Learning to value and recognize the contribution of every individual is incredibly important. Our modern-day ecosystems are built around speed, efficiency and productiveness which while having their advantages, can also lead to transactional relationships and a lack of general empathy for the emotional needs of people stuck in the middle.

I’ve recently been involved in the recruitment for a variety of roles into a newly formed business. In the process of interviewing for the roles we invariably ask them to provide context around what they’re currently doing and why they’re interested in exploring the opportunities we’re considering them for.

One of the most common things we hear is that in their current place of work, they or people around them are not being valued by the business – people who do the work aren’t being promoted or given the appropriate recognition, opportunities to develop are being closed off by managers who have personal agendas, those who work hard and keep their heads focused on delivering great outcomes can often be drowned out by others who simply “work the system” better than they do. In short, one of the most basic triggers of exit, is feeling like your contribution is being unnoticed and taken for granted.

In Luke 7 we read a story of a woman “who was a sinner” discovers that Jesus is at the house of a Pharisee goes to wash his feet with her tears and expensive ointment. Each of the accounts in Matthew, Mark and Luke describe how different individuals reacted to the actions by this woman, and more importantly they all point to the response that really mattered to her – Jesus noticed and valued the part of her contribution that held the greatest significance to her story. It wasn’t the tears, the ointment or the ascribed value that mattered, it was her brokenness of heart, vulnerability and need for someone to acknowledge that she could still be saved – she had value in the eyes of Christ.

Today my hope is that we see Jesus’ response as the example that we should set in every situation – that we would notice individuals, value what matters to them and show the love & understanding that Christ has shown to us.

Luke 7:36-50

36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”

41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among[h] themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

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