English Standard Version (ESV)
In business school, we talked a lot about adding value. Some people add value to conversations by being in them, some companies add value to your experience by the way they approach their field. In marketing, its vital to communicate the value of a certain product or brand, and when it comes to data you're trying to distill what the real value is among all the noise.
When Paul is talking about his approach, he looks at everything through the lens of communicating the Gospel. He says that the only value he wants to bring to life and his relationships is the value of Christ, and that if he's not communicating Christ, then he doesn't add any value and all is lost.
Think about that for a second -- strip away everything in your life that isn't done with the sole end of bringing glory to God and communicating the love of Christ to loved ones, friends, strangers and enemies.
It's a challenging exercise, but a good one, I think, because it forces me to think about what I do and why I do it. I operate mindlessly often, staying in a routine or getting things done simply because they need to be done. I often lose sight of what truly matters, and here Paul is reminding us that what truly matters is all that truly matters -- if he's not doing it for the sake of the Gospel, then he doesn't want to be doing it.
Paul's worldview is rooted in the deep waters of discipleship, and it takes a long time to get there. This doesn't happen overnight, and it certainly doesn't happen without the leadership of the Holy Spirit So be bold and courageous in pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ, that all else may be stripped away and his love is all that is left, sustaining you and leading you to love and serve others.