Trust is the currency for a Christian business owner or leader. With trust, we can build a business that will point people toward God. Without this trust, we will never impact anyone for eternity. We will simply not achieve our purpose without the trust of others.
Picture a room where you regularly go to sit down. It may be a conference room, office, study, church, or anywhere with chairs. Now picture the chair you normally sit in (you know the one). How often do you sit in that chair? Has it ever fallen apart when you sat in it? Has it ever been soaking wet without you knowing it? Would you say you “trust” this chair?
I know you may never have asked yourself this question, but why is it that you trust this particular chair? If I had to bet, I would say that you trust it because it has been consistent!
If not, if the chair had occasionally failed you for one reason or another, then it is likely you would have changed chairs by now. If you do not trust the chair to be what it is advertised to be, then you will not take the repeated risk of depending on it to support your weight, right?
Our company chaplain led a couple of groups of employees through a book by Chris Evans called Fruit at Work. In this book, Evans talks about how Christians should be living out their faith in their workplace by exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. Our employee groups met weekly and discussed the material in the book and how it applies to them.
One of the ideas Evans discusses is that of personal discipleship, trust, and consistency. Let me explain what I mean by using the author’s words:
In many ways, personal discipleship is simply an effort to gain greater internal consistency between what you believe and how you act….This is why: predictable things are trustworthy things.
Did you follow that? Let me repeat it: predictable things are trustworthy things.
As Christian business owners and leaders, we need people to trust us. We need employees to trust us so we can lead them. We want our customers to trust us so they will buy our products or services and remain loyal to us. Our vendors need to trust us to pay them accurately and on time, or they will not continue to service us.
Trust is really a currency for a Christian business owner or leader. With this trust, from all stakeholders, we can build a business that will point people toward God. Without this trust, we will never impact anyone for eternity. We will simply not achieve our purpose without the trust of others.
So how do we earn this trust? How do we stockpile this currency?
Go back to the quote (and the illustration of the chair). We build trust by having a consistency between what we believe and how we act. If the people around us know what we say we believe, but see us acting in a manner that is not consistent with that belief, then trust is destroyed. If they see consistency between what we say we believe and how we act, then trust is built—even multiplied—over time! This is the trust currency we need so desperately if we plan to achieve God’s purpose for us!
So, final question: how do we achieve the consistency between our beliefs and actions?
If you look again at the quote from Evans above, you will see that the answer is “personal discipleship.” Let’s look at another quote from Fruit at Work to get further explanation.
So without consciously trying to gain people’s trust, you should naturally be gaining it through an increasing level of internal consistency as you let God trim off the rough edges and confer you to the likeness of His Son.
Personal discipleship is illustrated well in this quote as a process by which we allow God to trim our rough edges and make us more like Jesus. The more we read His Word, study, and pray, the more He is able to do this in our hearts.
The great thing is that this process, though often painful and difficult, produces fruit that we cannot produce on our own. This fruit of the Spirit is produced “through” us by God. It is not within our control, except that we submit to His process.
When we do submit to God through personal discipleship, He is faithful to produce this fruit. This fruit then allows us to begin gaining the currency of trust. Take a look at one more quote from Evans:
The reason this is important to know is that the more you demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, the better you are at growing trust.
For example, the more you consistently show the fruit of love and demonstrate to others that you place their success above your own, the more they will be willing to trust that you have their interests at heart. The better your self-control, the more reliable you are perceived to be.
Hopefully you can see how critical it is for you to build this trust in every relationship you have. The more trust you have built, the more influence you will have in pointing others to Christ. And that, friends, is why you are here.
Do you have the trust you need to be effective? Is your personal discipleship leading to consistency between your beliefs and actions? What do you need to do differently to make this happen?
By: Chris Patton
Chris Patton is President of the Mike Patton Auto Family in LaGrange, Georgia. Along with his brother (and partner) Brian, Chris is a third-generation owner and grew up working in every department in the business, beginning at the age of 10. Chris also writes a blog called Christian Faith At Work (ChristianFaithAtWork.com). He is writing it to business owners and leaders who are trying to figure out how to integrate their Christian faith into their businesses. Chris and his wife Kim live in LaGrange, GA with their three children.Read More Articles by Chris Patton