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Is "Value" a Biblical Concept?

Aug 18, 2007
It's definitely important to bring value to others. But some may wonder where that concept is in Scripture.

Obviously, the concept of service is everywhere in God's Word. It is the primary calling of the Christian -- to serve God and man. And it's the primary need in business -- and the degree of service the customers experience is often the reason for a business's success or failure.

In the concept of service, value is almost a given. Value determines to whom the service is important. Unfortunately, many people miss this point. How many companies have you seen launch a product, only to see it discontinued in just a few short months? It happens all the time. Why? Because the product didn't bring enough value to the customer. In other words, the product didn't serve the customer in a way he wanted to be served.

Many people insist on serving others in a way that seems right to themselves. They aren't concerned with how the other person wants to be served. Only how they want to serve.

This will work every now and then, as even a blind sow finds an acorn every now and then. But in general, it's a recipe for failure. Value helps determine whether your act of service is selfish or not. If the other person considers it valuable, it's less likely to be a selfish act (though the act could still be done selfishly, see the "blind sow" above).

In Scripture, we see a perfect example of this in the book of Philemon. In this book, Paul is encouraging Philemon to take back a slave who abandoned his master (and possibly stole from his master, as well). In this case, Onesimus certainly acted selfishly by leaving. And that act had absolutely no value to Philemon -- but rather removed value from him.

In verse 10, we see that Onesimus became a Christian under Paul's teaching and learned Christian principles. Then in verse 11, Paul tells Philemon that Onesimus is now "useful" to both of them. That term hints that, prior to his conversion, Onesimus's actions were "useless" to them both. The word "useful" means value and "useless" means no value. And, in verse 13, Paul relates this value directly back to service.

So this prompts the question, how valuable are you? If you're not very valuable, you need to ask yourself, "What Biblical principles am I lacking?" You may need to take a good look at your service to others -- and the motivation behind it.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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