No one is value-neutral. When we appear on the scene we either add benefit or we take it away.
In manager-speak the label value-added can be a glowing recommendation when it is stamped on activities, projects, groups, or even individuals. Imagine the boost from having your boss commend you in this way, “Joe adds value to everything he touches.” That’s a good time to ask for a raise, right?
What do I bring to the stage? Am I adding value? Are people relieved or repulsed when I arrive?
Tim Sanders (Love is the Killer App, page 12) provides this simple definition of value-added: “The value with you inside a situation is greater than the value without you.”
David, the anointed king of Israel, did not immediately assume his throne. King Saul, reluctant to relinquish the reigns of leadership, determined to eradicate the young upstart. On the run, chased like an outlaw, forced to live in primitive conditions, David lived with a price on his head.
Would you join David on the lam and risk Saul’s wrath? Jonathan, Saul’s son and the logical successor to the throne, put his support behind David. Others began to join David’s tiny band in the wilderness.
So David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam; and when his brothers and all his father’s household heard of it, they went down there to him. Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them. Now there were about four hundred men with him.
1 Samuel 22:1-2 NASB
It was a start but not the caliber of people most would choose to launch a new administration. Later we find David had a significant group of warriors behind him clearing the obstacles on his way to the throne.
Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom, together with all Israel, to make him king, according to the word of the LORD concerning Israel.
1 Chronicles 11:10 NASB
What did they see in David? Why was defying the king and joining David’s seemingly impossible quest a rational choice?
Tim Sanders (Love is the Killer App, page 15) quotes Harry Beckwith: “Instead of thinking about value-added, think about knowledge-added. What knowledge can you add to your service, or communicate about your service, that will make you more attractive to …business partners and customers?”
David’s value-added manner of living drew followers, and his knowledge-added leadership gave them direction. What was this mysterious knowledge that attracted men from all walks of life, men willing to lay down their lives for the cause? We can find the answer by browsing through David’s writings in the Psalms. Here’s a sampling:
I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:5 NASB
The Lord hears when I call to Him. Psalm 4:3B NASB
God is a righteous judge… Psalm7:11A NASB
The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble; Psalm 9:9 NASB
He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way. Psalm 25:9 NASB
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. Palm 34:6 NASB
David spelled out the path to becoming value-added in Psalm 1. It involves a conscious choice between two conflicting standards of living, two sources of knowledge. David chose wisely.