Measurable and Immeasurable Value

2 min read

spread out gold coins on a table

Every problem is an interpersonal problem

What is the best way to quantify the results that you achieve?

How do you measure out value?

What if there is more to value than what’s measurable?

I recently read a Christian book, “When Helping Hurts”, about how the ways we think we’re helping others may actually be causing more long-term hurt, and ways we can be more effective in impacting hurting areas.

One thing the book shares is how missionaries have to relay to their organization & donors the effectiveness of their ministry within the areas they serve in.

Many missionaries are part of a missionary org where they receive a network, resources, and ultimately, monetary support from Christians.

With it, missionaries are called to bring back to the organization an idea of the impact their work has done—to relay to the org & their donors how effective the money & support has been for the ministry.

  • How many homes were built?

  • How many people attend the service every week?

  • How many churches have been created?

  • How many people were baptized and became Christ-followers?

And many other things that reveal what measurable results people’s dollars attained.

But what is measured isn’t always the best value.

The book challenges that mission work is not always quantifiable by results by sharing a story of a couple who embedded themselves into an impoverished community to help build homes & a church.

Rather than trying to instantly build homes, conduct change as consultants to the community, and make a visible impact, they focused on building up their relationships within the community in order to equip them to thrive even if they were no longer around.

By the end of 4 years of ministry, results-wise, they had built a single home.

It seems pitiable—4 years of work all for a small house, enough for maybe 1 family to live comfortably in.

But because of the trust they had built within the community, the relationships they had forged, they had succeded in empowering the community to work together to build that home themselves, and many more homes would be built without the couple’s need for action.

In numbers terms, the question of “What have you been doing the past 4 years” may challenge the validity of the ministry the couple had undertaken.

But the truth is, they had brought more impact to the community, equipping them by building up through relationships rather than physical houses.

This story reveals the power of focusing not solely on the value that is measurable, but what is immeasurable.

The impact that we want to see in life sometimes isn’t through statistics and numbers. that we garner. It’s through the relationships that are built up.

I notice this in social media, and especially in Twitter.

There is a beauty surfing through analytics and seeing numbers increasing—organic impressions, profile visits, and followers gained.

But all these numbers are only insightful & impactful to a certain extent.

There is greater importance I have found in what is immeasurable.

  • The public conversations I’ve had when I engaged with other users.

  • The DMs I’ve slid into (and vice versa) which have gone beyond “Hi” and “Thanks for following me”.

  • The inspiration I’ve found in my 1:1 interactions with others which, in many ways, have been life-changing.

Value not only in the measurable but also in what is immeasurable through the relationships and connections with others.

In other words, there is a balance to obtain.

Yes, focus on the numbers and use them as an indication of success.

But recognize that there is more to it than meets the eye.

There is so much value to be captured and given through what is immeasurable.

Questions to ponder: 🤔

  • Are you aiming to achieve measurable or immeasurable value?

  • What is one way you can focus and achieve immeasurable value in your field of expertise?