Is your account overdrawn?

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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Have you ever gotten the notice in the mail (or by email or text message) that your bank account is overdrawn? I have.

It seems like a scenario that would be easy to avoid. It’s simple math: deposit more than you withdraw. How hard can it be?

I think the hard part, at least for me, is that you have to pay attention and keep records. You have to know how much you have deposited and how much you have withdrawn. You have to stop withdrawing until you have sufficient deposits.

I had the unique blessing last week of conducting an in-service workshop for a division of the Fort Worth Independent School District. The materials I presented are based on the book “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M.R. Covey. The basic premise of the book is that in high trust organizations (including businesses, churches and even families) productivity increases and costs decrease. The converse is true: low trust results in low productivity and higher costs.

I have seen so many examples of this truth in working with churches and other organizations. A good idea loses all momentum by the time it works its way through all the committees and/or levels of bureaucracy that have to sign off on it. Creativity and innovation are discouraged by familiar systems. Motives are questioned at every juncture.

Today’s leaders are operating at a trust deficit because of mistakes and failures made by people who are no longer on the scene.

What’s the answer? It seems like simple math. Make more deposits than withdrawals. We have “trust” accounts with each person with whom we interact, and the quality of those interactions will be affected by the balance of those accounts. Furthermore, since we live in a culture where trust has so often been violated, we must be much more intentional and active in making extravagant deposits into those accounts.

Another way of looking at this is through an agricultural metaphor: “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7-9, NIV)

We don’t reap what we wish for, or believe in, or deserve; we reap what we sow. Sowing is active and intentional. If we want to be trusted, it is not enough to simply be trustworthy, we have to sow trust. If we want to be respected, it is not enough to simply be respectable, we have to sow respect. If we want to be loved you get the point.

So here’s my question (I know I am mixing my metaphors I trust you to figure it out): What deposits will you sow today?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association, headquartered in Decatur.

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