Tag Archives: honesty

The Credibility Bank & Trust

Sometimes when I balance my checkbook, I lament that money often seems to be flowing out more quickly than it flows in. I balance my checkbook almost every day; I know what bills are coming due and I try to defer as much “extra” money as I can into my savings account emergency fund. I like to think that I am rather diligent in managing my money, but always with room to improve.

There is another account that is equally as important. I call the institution that houses this important personal account The Credibility Bank & Trust, or CB&T for short.

Unlike your checking account, your CB&T account balance is not measured in dollars. It is measured in reputation. Deposits are made when you do the right thing, while your account balance is reduced every time you fail to do so. Deliver quality work when you say you’ll deliver it – there’s a deposit. On the other hand, delivering subpar or late work constitutes a withdrawal. Make a promise to a friend or coworker and deliver on it – there’s a deposit. Break that same promise – big withdrawal. Promptly return telephone calls and acknowledge emails – easy deposits. Hide behind your voice mail and ignore incoming emails – withdrawal. Properly prepare for meetings and contribute positively to the discussion – another deposit. Sit silently in meetings while periodically peeking at your cell phone – balance reduced.

Each of us has a CB&T account at home, too, and it works the same way as your on-the-job account. For example, treat your family with love and respect – consistent deposit inflow. Take them for granted and your account depletes rapidly. You get the picture.

How do you know your CB&T balance? The greatest measure of your CB&T account balance is in your reputation. Do people trust you? Do they come to you with problems? Can they trust you to keep your promises and maintain confidentiality? If the answers to these questions are yes, you can rest assured that you have built a nice surplus in your CB&T balance that will serve you well in your career and your personal life. If the answers to any of these questions is no, it’s time to audit behaviors and begin repairing the reputational damage.

As you consider these questions, know that your perceived account balance may vary between individuals at work or within your family. Think about that for a moment. What happens when you treat people at work differently from one another? One person thinks you’re great while the other – not so much. Over time, such conduct erodes your CB&T balance until you are overdrawn; at that point you become ineffective and, well, dispensable.

So what must we do to ensure our Credibility balance is in the black? Jesus offers some very succinct direction:

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:31 (NKJV)

The people Jesus is talking about are all around you. They serve you in stores and restaurants. They occupy the nearby cubicle. They pass you on the highway. You live with some and you work with others. They are your family, your neighbors, your coworkers, your closest friends, and the strangers you pass on the sidewalk. If you consistently seek to treat others as you would like to be treated, you run little risk of depleting your CB&T account balance.

The notion of the Credibility Bank & Trust is something I try to bear in mind at all times, and I have shared it with several coworkers and business colleagues. Give it a try; It has served me well, and I’m convinced that it will serve you well, too.

“Oh, the Tangled Webs…” ~ Acts 5:1-11

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael

The Death of Ananias, by Raphael (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? Acts 5:3

Ananias and Sapphira sell their land, their stated purpose being to donate the proceeds to the church. After closing the sale, they decide to give only a portion of the funds to the church and keep the rest for themselves. Nothing wrong here, right? After all, the money is their property to do with as they please, correct? Here’s the rub: Ananias and Sapphira had promised the full sum and represented the amount they donated as such. Succinctly stated, they lied. They lied to Peter, they lied to the church – they lied to God. God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed to Peter what was happening. The result of the couple’s charade was their demise; not because they withheld funds, but because they sought to make it appear as if they were giving all.

Did Ananias and Sapphira hold back because they didn’t fully trust God for their needs? Did they lie about the value of their gift in an attempt to gain favor for themselves? The passage doesn’t reveal their motive; it simply tells us that they lied. This isn’t about how much we give or don’t give; it’s about honesty and integrity. It’s about being honest concerning who we are and what motivates us. It’s about understanding God’s power and sovereignty and honoring Him by being completely true to Him. I am reminded of the old saying “Oh, the tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive…”

Looking in the mirror I realize rather quickly that there have been many times in my own life that I behaved just as Ananias and Sapphira did. I’ve sought to glorify myself. I’ve tried to be something I’m not in hopes that God will honor that. How foolish man’s folly can be!

Through the account of Ananias and Sapphira, God reminds us that we must consistently live for Christ. Examining my own life, I realize that my inconsistencies can impair my witness or, worse yet, I witness for the wrong person. God forgive me. As I lay my sins at the foot of the cross I am thankful for the forgiveness freely offered through Jesus Christ. My sins are in the past, and today is a new day.

Ponder this: What have I done or said to elevate others’ perception of me rather than to glorify God? How many times have I put my own wants and needs ahead of others? Lord, when have I lied to You?

My prayer for today: Heavenly Father, I confess that I often live my life for myself and not for you. Thank you for forgiving me. Help me to turn away from that sin and glorify you today and every day. In Jesus’ name – AMEN.

(c) Jeffrey R. Strege, 2018

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