One easy way to get a sense of what we value is to take notice of what we count. What gets attention, gets repeated.
Whether in an organization, a relationship, or the daily practice of an individual life, counting is a clue toward value.
Today is my birthday and the count goes up by one. It has me thinking about what other things I count in my life. I count the number of books I read, the number of blogs we post (and the number of reads we get). In our marriage, we count date nights and countries we’ve visited.
Almost everything we do to measure cost in our world is an exercise of counting. Salary. Square footage. Batting average.
Although the truth, we all know, is that the most important things in life cannot be counted. There are some things so valuable they transcend math.
We work in ministry and it is so hard to count anything in ministry. It is so hard to truly measure relational success.
But that doesn’t keep us from trying. We pick our metaphors and count them as a measure of our vision and value. If we are not careful, we will value the figures rather than what the figures communicate.There is nothing wrong with counting. It is an indicator of what matters to us.
Culture is the values we communicate within an organization or relationship. And counting is one of the way we communicate value.
Counting Toward Vision
The important question for us is what are we going to do with all the data. We are obsessed with counting. We have storerooms of measurements. But why? To what end?
Even a birthday. Years are just a number. So are days and months and weeks. My life is millions of moments and decisions running into one another. If I am sitting on the fence in my psyche and counting the years as they pass, the numbers mean little. But if each number is an alter, a marker of who I am becoming and what I have accomplished over the time of existence, the numbers start to gain meaning.
The key is to count toward meaning. To count with a purpose. To acknowledge that not only are the things we count indicative of what matters to us, they are resources to help gets us closer to vision and purpose.
If our counting is not aimed properly, we are wasting our time. Each digit is a measure of our values and an opportunity to propel us toward vision. Make the most of yours today.