To my friend, Scott.
Thank you for being an Addition and a Multiplier.
Has it really been so many years since this conversation?
I met him for lunch…this person I knew from a ministry that had touched my world but was a much bigger part of his. We didn’t know each other well then. Today I can’t remember if the purpose of our meeting was for me to help him or for him to help me. As it is, I hope we helped each other – if not that day, at least over time.
Our conversation quickly moved beyond normal pleasantries. I’ve never been one to shy away from “going deep” in relationships (in fact, I much prefer it), so this was fine with me. We talked about the great freedom that comes in being authentic and transparent. I’m sure we talked about the risk and vulnerability involved there as well. We discussed the purpose of various relationships in our lives – connections that can either change the way we think about the world, or pass us by without a second thought.
He shared with me that he once heard a church pastor describe it this way — there are four kinds of people in the world: Additions, Subtractions, Multipliers and Dividers.
It couldn’t be so simple that there was a life lesson to be learned from 1st & 2nd grade arithmetic. Impossible! This was not in keeping with my (at times) super-spiritual thought process or the multitude of psych classes I remembered from college. Could basic math possibly have something to teach us beyond numerical configurations?…
Indeed, it appeared so.
Additions. We’ve all met them. Those people in life who seem to make everything just a tiny bit better. They cause dinner conversation to be more meaningful, a night out on the town more fun, any given celebration more — well, celebratory. These are people we reach out to, people we easily bring into the fold, people we want on our “team,” people we’re honored to call Friend with a capital “F”.
Subtractions. Unfortunately we’ve all met these people too. They will suck. the. life. right. out. of. you.These people ‘take away’ from the YOUness that God has intended for you to give to the world! They are the naysayers, the doubters, the detractors, the pouters. These people T.A.K.E.!!! — your time, your energy, your passion even your stuff! Eck. Just thinking about them makes me exhausted.
Multipliers. These people enhance every experience they are part of – blowing it up 10x that which you anticipate. These people know lots and lots of people because relationships are important to them – and they want you to know them too. When they commit to a cause or project, they’re in 110% – and they’ll do their best to bring you along for the ride – even if they have to talk you into it (and they usually can). These people are not satisfied with “status quo” or “business as usual.” These people think BIG.
Dividers. When you encounter these people, RUN! Run far and run fast! They want to wedge their way into your world and start busting.things.up! Relationships. Business Opportunities. Dreams. These people second guess everything and everyone…and they make it their mission to get you to do the same.
I want to be an “Addition” and a “Multiplier” in life. Oh God, help it to be so. Please don’t let me be so consumed with myself that I am constantly taking from the world and offering nothing in return. Please let me be the kind of person who lives fully in the moment – building relationships, making a difference, encouraging others.
It might be simple math, but it’s complex life stuff. Are you where you want to be in this equation?
Good people will be remembered as a blessing, but evil people will soon be forgotten.
Proverbs 10:7 (NCV)