March 15, 2022
The first ingredient in a world that flourishes is that people are valued. God created a marvelous world, filled with animals, plants and amazing beauty. All His creation had value. But the people He created had infinitely more value.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NIV)
God’s design set humans apart from the animal kingdom and He gives them a place of authority over the rest of creation. The value He placed on people created a flourishing world and leaders reflect deeply on how valuing people impacts the way they lead.
Valuing people accelerates flourishing by acknowledging the intent.
The Genesis account reveals the profound intent of God when He created humans, “Let us make mankind in our image…” He created humans with His own image stamped into their DNA. A library of books could not fully explain His intent. But God placed people at the pinnacle of His beautiful creation and gives them intrinsic worth and purpose. His image is reflected in the creativity of humans, their sense of justice, their capacity to love, their ability to dream and plan and communicate. Their value is a part of who they are, it is not simply related to their physical appearance or ability to produce or contribute. They have value because they are human! Leaders who look at their people and value only what they will produce for the team miss the value of their team as humans. Serving leaders look at people and see a reflection of the image of God in each one. They see the potential and worth of each individual no matter their status or rank.
Valuing people accelerates flourishing by anticipating the impact.
What would a world look like where every person was seen as a unique and valuable person as God intended? Serving leaders envision a world in which people bring their best selves to work every day, fully engaged, passionate about what they are doing, thinking about ways to improve, engaging in healthy exchange of ideas, and able to use their best judgement to make decisions. We can scarcely imagine the productivity and potential that would be unleashed in even one organization where this was true. And what would a community look like where there were many companies, churches and homes that were truly valuing people? Serving leaders envision this world and lead in ways that value people more than production or profit. Serving leaders imagine that their church or business can be a place where people are valued as God intended from the beginning and they see the ripple effects flowing into families and nations.
Valuing people accelerates flourishing by accepting the implications.
Serving leaders accept the challenge to value people and seek first to live into this reality in their own leadership. They stop and talk with the person cleaning the floor. They get to know those they lead as real people who have names, families, children and dreams. They encourage people to be creative and call forth the best in others believing that there is hidden potential in every human being. Serving leaders are willing to take a risk to hire a worker that has been rejected by society because they see the value in every human. Serving leaders create a flourishing world around them by valuing people.
For further reflection and discussion:
- How has the intent of valuing people been distorted in your context? In what ways are people devalued? Reflect specifically about the thinking in this area in your culture, your family, and in the organization where you lead. What impact has this thinking had on you as a leader? In what ways do you need to adjust your thinking to align with God’s intent?
- Reflect on what the impact would be if everyone in your organization would fully grasp and live out what it means to value people. Write at least three reflections.
- What action steps will you take as a leader to value people in your home, organization or community? Choose which of these areas you will focus on and then list 2 or 3 specific steps you will take and dates for when you will take the actions.
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll examine another ingredient of a flourishing world: Diversity is Affirmed