The answer to the human condition, literally, leaped from the screen into my consciousness. Last week, a Fellow vented his frustration at me by announcing, “I never sacrifice, even for friends because: a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.”
First, let me share the rest of the story. As you read through the conversation thread, below — which was the catalyst for the Fellow’s remark — remember to always listen carefully to what people say and you can, vividly, see into the core of who they are.
The topic of discussion — on this professional forum for the exchange of ideas — was about which word is best: Customer, or Client.
(Kim Foard) Much more than a matter of semantics and the focus on our ‘professional‘ command of the English language, the concept is to build a relationship and produce positive results. From experience, I have found some (of those for whom I work) like the word Client, others like the word Customer — and, everyone (who pays me) loves to believe they are my Friend. Let’s raise the bar and think of those we serve as Friends.
(Fellow) Friendship can happen, but the vast majority are business relationships and not friendship, IMHO.
(Kim Foard) One thing I have noticed — My ‘enemies’ respect me. They don’t do business with me as Customer, Client, or any other label.
(Fellow) True, but being friendly is not the same as being a friend.
(Kim Foard) Again, it’s a matter of semantics. Included in my definition are these parameters: “Friends deserve the best in everything. No sacrifice is too big — or, task too small — when friendship is being nurtured.”
(Fellow) I never sacrifice, even for friends because a) if they are true friends they would not want me to sacrifice, or b) I would be willing to do it and therefore was not a sacrifice.
(Kim Foard) You’re right. It’s a spectrum of thought. You and I have clearly identified the ‘Pots of Gold‘ on each side. The real secret is to be passionate about our beliefs — because, we will attract those of like mind.
In my humble opinion (IMHO), he is ‘right’, only, in the context of being entitled to his opinion. What is your belief? As you can see, the conversation morphed from a matter of semantics into one of foundational issues at the core of any relationship. The label choice between Customer vs. Client pales into insignificance, when measured against the word: Sacrifice.
Is sacrifice important? Is it old-fashioned? Is it taken, or given? What do you believe?
Let’s set the stage for our thoughts by considering two simple Proverbs:
When people’s lives please the Lord, even their enemies are at peace with them.
Calloused (social) climbers betray their very own friends — they’d stab their own grandmothers in the back.
Thoughts of the vernacular, which might come to our minds “With friends like those who needs enemies.” — and, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
Yet, we are encouraged to move our thoughts, words, deeds and character to a higher level.
You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best — the sun to warm and the rain to nourish — to everyone, regardless of the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.
In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.
Right about now is when we, all, start squirming and looking for the semantic Exit. With thoughts running wild — great idea, cute concept, life changing — we accept the realization that Knowing and Doing are very different. Yet, we remind ourselves of life’s Universal Principles and move forward through the pain. We remember we’ve been taught the battle cry: Hard is easy — Easy is hard.
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world — but, let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning — Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
The idea that one person can define what sacrifice is to another individual reeks of arrogance and ignorance.
When we ask for anything from another person (as simple as a glass of water — or, as complex as the price for an exchange of goods and services), they make a choice between ‘Yes‘ and ‘No‘. If the request is beyond a boundary of theirs, they will choose: No. If the request is within their will to deliver, they will choose: Yes.
To fulfill our request, another individual might offer a sacrifice.
What is a sacrifice?
Forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim.
To forfeit (one thing) for another thing considered to be of greater value.
Surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil.
Something of value given away or up in order to gain something more important or to benefit another person.
One word — sacrifice — is the essence of ‘Giving to Receive‘. It is an individual choice executed by the internal will of that person. No managing by committee. No having it all. No maybe in approach. Sacrifice is a committed decision to offer. What another person does with the offering is their choice.
In my closing remarks — in the conversation with the Fellow above — the ‘Pots of Gold‘ on either side of the rainbow are Time and Money. In business, the focus is generally on Money — and, the opportunities it can buy. Of the two, Time is more precious — because, of the priceless relationships it can build.
When my Friends offer money in exchange for the value of my time — plain and simple — they are making a sacrifice. From the blood, sweat, and tears of their effort, they produce value in the marketplace. The money earned — through the sacrifice of their time — has great value to them. They exchange it for something perceived to be of greater value. I acknowledge and appreciate their sacrifice.
As their Friend, I believe in — Going far beyond the call of duty, Doing more than others expect, Striving after and maintaining the highest standards, Looking after the smallest detail, and Traveling the extra mile. Sacrifice means giving my best — in everything and every way.
Beyond the realm of business, the gift of Time is a daily sacrifice we all make. The question becomes — “At which altar do we place it?”
On the altar of Narcissism, humility is sacrificed by those who believe they are the center of the universe.
On the altar of Friendship, pride is sacrificed by those who believe they are, simply, conduits of goodness for the benefit of others.
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”