We all have something of offer.That is the principle of Lesson Two. Few would argue with this principle but, in practice, we tend to forget this basic fact when presented with someone’s need. And as the need becomes more pronounced and apparent, it becomes more difficultto recognize and realize what someone has to offer. A helpful word that is used to describe what someone has to offer is assets - the full range of interests, talents, and resources that a person and a community has to offer.

Discovering and engaging assets is a vital component of serving with dignity. An oft-used approach is to addressing needs it to match a resource (assets) to a problem (need). What’s wrong with that? The problem arises when that exchange becomes the basis of a relationship. In such cases, dependency results. And when that dependency develops between two capable adults, something very unhealthy and unhelpful has emerged.

In contrast, Dignity Serves teaches that “the ideal context for meeting human need is dignified interdependent relationships.” Interdependent relationships involve both needs and assets, giving and receiving, reciprocity. And the dignity of a relationship is evident in its godly purpose. A parent-child relationship is different than a doctor-patient relationship which is different than a friendship or a mere acquaintance. Each of these, indeed all relationships, have a dignified expression and when accompanied by a giving and receiving that is appropriate to the context, dignified interdependence results and needs are met as a natural by-product.

Assets are realized through simple observation and by asking questions such as “What is something other people say you are good at?” We wouldn’t ask a question like this if someone was lying in front of us bleeding or starving to death. Hopefully, we would do our part to help meet the need. But applying an emergency response to non-emergencies leads us down a dark path.

In our day-to-day life, we have tremendous opportunity to discover the assets that others possess and to express our own need. The reverse is also true – we have assets to share and others have needs that we should be willing to help address. Becoming more comfortable with this reality, will help us enjoy serving with dignity.

 

FOR REFLECTION:

Watch the video above. What transpired that would facilitate 'dignified interdependent relationships'? What transpired that would detract from these types of relationships?

Do you believe that God gives everyone assets? If so, list some examples of these assets.

How do you properly engage the talents of others?