Nobody values the things they already have. There has to be a unique value proposition to present an attraction. Without distinguishing characteristics, comparable things are left as mutually common. Common is neither valuable nor attractive. An exchange for something which is uncommon is desired by those that value something else as greater than what they already possess.
My friend Nate works with young people. He is in his 20’s and he invests in middle school and high school age students. He is faced with the challenge of remaining relevant to them without becoming common to them. He pointed out recently that “they don’t want anything from someone like them; they are looking for someone different from them to invest in them.” While they embrace the culture of youth, they desire the benefits of maturity.
To be both relevant and valued in a culture that largely conforms, the following needs to be present:
- Authenticity – there has to be a conviction that exceeds the temptation of compromise. The carrier of the uncommon has to believe what they claim at all costs to include sacrifice for that belief.
- Encounter – this is kind of a sub-set of authenticity as conviction is based in experience more than it is knowledge. Experience is based in encounter, not information.
- Grace – judgement repels, but kindness attracts. There has to be a distinction between another person’s choices, behaviors or beliefs from their design. Without receiving them in their current state, there will not be an opportunity to invite them into anything more.
- Patience – you didn’t reach your current status of maturity or wisdom overnight and neither will anyone else. There will be setbacks along the way. The setbacks don’t invalidate the journey.
- Humility – if we ever think we have arrived, we go from uncommon to common.
Because Christians read this blog, some might think, “we need Jesus, not another person.” That’s absolutely true, and He has chosen to use people as multiplying agents in His Kingdom. In fact, it is His presence as Royalty in a person which validates otherwise common people as uncommon sons and daughters of a King. It’s knowing Him by encounter that manifests His grace, patience and humility in an authentic way which attracts others to Him in us.