“Did you tell her we’re here? We had an appointment for 11:00 a. m. and we’ve been waiting for twenty minutes.”
“She’s with someone else right now. Would you like to reschedule?”
“No. This is the time we set aside.”
We waited another ten minutes and left. This was a follow-up appointment to purchase our flights and lodgings for our fall trip. We had used this company’s travel service several times before, but this was the first time we’d been ignored by an agent. We still wanted to complete our plans, but not with this woman. I suggested to my husband that we try another branch.
The next morning we spent over two hours finalizing our trip with an agent who gave us his full attention. Later he followed up with answers to our questions and suggestions for making our experience even better. Obviously he valued our business and us. And we will be sure to return to him for future vacations.
I’m not sure what happened with the other agent. Later she left a message on my phone with an explanation, but no apology. The couple she was working with had come in before our appointment, and she needed to spend time with them. Really? Perhaps they were booking a more expensive trip with a better commission for her? Whatever her reason, it didn’t matter to us. We had moved on.
We had to teach our children to value their commitments. Occasionally they would accept an invitation to one event only to receive a second invitation for something they would rather do. Sorry. They learned to honor their first choice. They learned how important it was to value a friend.
No one enjoys being passed over, undervalued. When someone is greeting me, I hope they will give me their attention instead of shaking my hand and looking to the next person in line. I know I’ve sometimes been guilty of rushing to embrace a friend I haven’t seen for ages, almost knocking over her spouse in my eagerness. I suspect he felt a bit like yesterday’s leftovers. Usually I catch myself and apologize to the neglected partner, adding a warm greeting.
“We value your business!” “I value your opinion!” “Our valued customers!” I’ve seen or heard all of these at one time or another. Customers, clients, parishioners, coworkers or family members quickly pick up on our estimation of them, our respect and opinion of them, how important and appreciated they are to us. Our words and actions shout out our true feelings no matter how much we profess to value them.
Sometimes a business or relationship is based solely on the bottom line. What is your monetary worth to me? What can you do for me that will help me get ahead? A person or company that has this view is really only valuing themselves. They don’t see the importance of honoring someone’s loyalty. They’ve arrived at their own narrow estimation of that person’s worth.
A servant-led organization knows how to show appreciation and respect for everyone, those we work with and those who use our services and products. But face it. This is something that doesn’t come naturally. It’s a difficult goal. It’s something we constantly need to work on.
We wouldn’t even know what valuing people would look like without the example of our Lord Jesus. He showed all kinds of people that they were important to him: men and women and little children; tax collectors and military officials; sinners and noteworthy citizens; rich and poor. He saw their worth beyond their social status. He appreciated those who ministered to him, and he ministered to those who needed to be valued.
Jesus reminds us that we are the most valuable part of His creation. “Look at the birds of the air… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26 RSV) He is concerned about our welfare on this earth, our needs and our daily life.
But His consideration for us goes far beyond this life. And we should take our cue from our loving Father when we look at others and their value to us. We need His eyes of appreciation, His eyes of love.
After all, God loved the world, all of us. He valued the world so much… He valued all of us so much… that He gave His only begotten Son. No one should ever be undervalued. And thank goodness none of us has to ever worry about being left out or ignored by our Lord Jesus.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
(First published at Lead Like Jesus January 2019)