In the first three parts of this series, under the theme of people who command attention, we considered three bases of attention – words, authority and values.
In this fourth article I would like to look further at the basis of the third dimension, which is what people do, and ask why it commands attention.
The fundamental reason is that they are relevant. This means that what they do has meaning, purpose and impact for the people who are on the receiving end of their actions. Relevance is when a solution meets a need. You are relevant when you add value and bring an input that solves a problem or effectively addresses an underlying need.
This concept of relevance is absolutely critical in our world today, perhaps more than in any other time in history. We live in a world that is so full of needs – socio-economic, emotional, and psychological and above all, spiritual needs. In many nations across the world people are or feel marginalised, living on the very edge of society, totally excluded from mainstream life by all sorts of factors, such as a lack of opportunities, ill health or their background. The list can go on. It is therefore critical that anyone who wishes to be relevant to people who fall within these or any other category, must be able to offer something that addresses the felt needs of those individuals.
So, for someone who is sick, the doctor that brings and administers medication and a nurse who provides care becomes relevant to that individual. For a person who is hungry, the one who brings food is relevant. For the one who is in prison, the person who visits regularly or secures their release is relevant.
What the examples that have been cited show is there are huge opportunities for each one of us to make a contribution and a significant difference in the lives of people around us. There are so many areas of opportunity where we can make a difference in our community and in our world.
No other life in history better demonstrates this whole point of relevance than Jesus. To those who were sick, He brought healing. To people who were blind, he opened their eyes. To those on the outer edge of society, He reached out and connected with them; building bridges of friendship, acceptance and forgiveness. This applied to low as well as high born, male and female, citizens and aliens, rich and poor. Jesus presents to us a model of what it means to be relevant. If we follow His example, we will command attention. People will be drawn to us for the value we add.
Copyright Emmanuel Mbakwe 2013©
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