“. . . whoever wants to be become great among you must be your servant . . .”
- Mark 10:43
Two business partners were discussing their goals for the next year. “Increasing our revenues by thirty percent should be our primary goal,” the first partner suggested, to which the other, the wiser one, replied, “how about instead we increase by thirty percent the number of people we serve in helping them attain their goals.”
In the preface to his classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning, renowned psychiatrist, author, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl wrote: “Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. . . I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run – in the long run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.”
The bedrock of our financial system and the hope for the future of our prosperity resides in our capacity to create and provide value to other human beings. Work, in other words, must be first and foremost about creating value rather than making money. Money is only a byproduct, a means of exchange, a way of measuring value. That should be resounding good news for all of us who concern ourselves with the state of the economy, if instead we focus our efforts on serving and creating value for others. Then we will live to see that in the long run – “in the long run, I say!” – money and success will follow.
Besides, ultimately the abundance we realize in our lives will be the result of the value we create, not the money we make or the things we accumulate. The wiser of the two partners understood this that by simply serving others and adding value to their lives money and success would follow. Or as the scriptures remind us, “. . . whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.”