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The Most Valuable Asset in Life: Cherishing Relationships

by | Apr 2, 2024 | Videos

As I look back at old photos, I realize the true value in life lies in the relationships we cherish. Take a moment to appreciate the people who have made a difference in your life.

 

“You know, when I take time to contemplate the most valuable things that I own, you know, in my personal life or even across our business, I would have to say that it’s marketplace skills are missionary skills.

We’ve been scanning thousands of old pictures into ioto over the last few months. It’s been a blast: a family vacation from 1991, a youth group amusement park adventure from the summer of ’93, a college formal from the year Mandy graduated from college, missions trips from the year I graduated from high school. You know, there’s images from the early days just after Mandy and I started dating that still kind of give me those warm fuzzy ‘how in the world did this woman ever choose me’ butterflies. You know, there’s those first moments after our daughter made us parents. It’s been a joyous but tedious trip down memory lane, and honestly, it’s been somewhat sobering because there’s a lot of life in the rearview mirror. You know, I used to think only old people said things like that, and now… well, one of my recurring emotions as I uncovered these forgotten memories is just a sense of gratefulness. Look at how many beautiful people God has put in my life over nearly five decades now. Wow, look at the people. But honestly, there’s also a little regret because I’m not sure I cherished these people enough in the moment. You know, you just assume they’ll always be there, that the richness of friends and teams and deep community don’t have to be cultivated and pursued and protected. But they do.

You know, when you’re in your 20s and 30s, you carry so much ambition. You want to make your mark, to prove yourself, to accomplish things. And that’s not all bad, you know, as you know if you’ve been around here for any amount of time. I mean, according to Genesis 2, we were created to work and keep God’s creation. We were made to create culture, to honor God, and to love our neighbors through the gifts and abilities God has given us. Rightly focused ambition is God-given and can be God-honoring. But our ambition can sometimes blind us to the gift of people and our responsibility to those people that the Lord has placed all around us.

Philippians 2:3-5 reminds us, ‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.’ You know, in the business and mission world today, we hear a lot about this idea of multiple bottom lines, about measuring the profitability of your business not just by the profit and loss statement but by the physical and spiritual impact that you are making on people. That’s true of our balance sheet as well. You know, the P&L measures income versus expenses and net profit, but the balance sheet, it shows our assets versus our liabilities. And just like we talk about multiple bottom lines to measure the true profitability of your business, I think we should have multiple asset classes maybe to measure the holding value of our initiatives as well.

Sure, maybe I have a lot of cash or vehicles or buildings that fill up my asset categories, but what if we measured the value of the people, our teams, our networks as well? You know, I always told my kids to collect friends; that they’re the most valuable asset that you can have in this life. You know, cherish the people God has given you, your team, your community, your network. Invest in them, grow them, guard them, serve them, love them, and don’t take them for granted.

You know, I turn 50 later this year, and I’ll tell you, I’m proud of so many of the things the Lord has allowed me to accomplish and to be a part of, but it’s easily the relationships that mean the most to me now. It’s the people I miss the most when I look at these old photos, and it’s the people that I’m most grateful for. My advice to my younger self would not be to desire accomplishment less; it would just be to cherish the people more. It’s deep connection to our fellow image bearers that our hearts long for the most.

There’s a whole lot of you that I found hidden in cardboard boxes and behind the sticky see-through plastic covers of old photo albums these past few months, and just know I am grateful for you. So I encourage you to stop and look at the people God has graced your life with as well. Stop and say thank you and meditate on the value of that asset that doesn’t show up on your personal financial statements. At the end of the day, relationships are the most valuable thing you will.”

Emma Cooper

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