Branding is: “What you are known for.”
Today it is hard to distinguish between so called christian marriages and non christian marriages, between so called christian businesses and non christian businesses. The lingo, the business plans, the code of conduct, the treatment of customers and employees is so similar, often the only differentiation is the moniker.
James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church at Jerusalem encouraged the early day church to realize the impact they had in the community, the marketplace and the culture was based on what they said to each other and how they “backed up” those words with action… or lack thereof.
We need to be about the Father’s business of tending to souls and their quality of life, maturity of spirit, knowledge of the Holy One and fellowship with Jesus. Here are three questions I believe we must answer well to see the Kingdom represented in our life, relationships and business.
- What will you be known for in business, in life and in relationships?
- Are you willing to fire the wrong customers and woo the right ones?
- What to say, and not to say.
What will you be known for?
One of the most humbling and yet terrifying things that has ever been spoken to me was delivered as a genuine compliment. The same comment came to me three or four times, from different people, at different seasons of my life. These were people that I honored at the time for their wisdom, maturity, experience and influence. I still respect each of them greatly. That is what made the compliment so humbling and terrifying. They said, “You are such an incredible man of integrity.” I was speechless. I wanted to cry. I thought to myself, “I have fooled them. I have somehow misled them to believe something about me that I do not believe myself to be true.” I was concerned that they would one day discover the real me and find it all to be a lie or a rouse. Here is the real irony. Those comments came over a span 25 years of my life. How could that be?
Dale Carnegie says, “Give a man a fine reputation to live up to.” I find that to be a powerful instruction and one that is incredibly effective at silently leading others. As I look back now I wonder if those who spoke such words into my life knew how flawed I really was (and am) but spoke life and promises over me based on who I one day will be.
Chew on that notion as you ask yourself about those whose life you speak into. Will you be known by them as the one who softly challenged them to become great? Will you be known as the one who believed in them when they did not? Will you be the one who draws them into a Kingdom calling by simple encouragement? Consider these words of St. James.
“Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” ~ James 3:17-18
“Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?” ~ James 2:14-17
Fire the wrong customers and woo the right ones.
God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
“My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted? ~ James 2:1-4
“Business is about the exchange of values between two or more parties… There are more parables concerning the stewardship of material goods and personal talents in the New Testament than concern Heaven or any other topic. God is not only materially oriented; He invented all matter and owns it all to boot.”
“Many churches today are in the business of “selling life insurance” rather than marketing “life assuredly”. ~ Dennis Peacocke “Doing Business Gods Way”.
“My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God’s truth, don’t write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you will have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God.” ~ James 5:19-20
Let me answer my own question about peddling in destiny. You are the one with the opportunity and the influence to speak into their life right now. You are the one who can speak hope into the right customers, friends and relationships. If you know they are perishing and you have knowledge that will save them, why would you watch without intervention?
Jesus instructed his disciples to be clear on who will and will not receive them. Parables were used by Jesus to weed out people who refused to listen to Kingdom wisdom. Jesus cautioned to not cast pearl before swine. Those who have ears, let them hear. There is great power and wisdom in business marketing behind wisely selecting your niche market. Advertising to those who cannot, will not ever buy your product or services is extremely ineffective and wasteful. Your time on earth is short. Those people you surround yourself with have a great impact on your future, your destiny, your vision, your calling. Choose them wisely. Some friends and clients have no potential to invest in you and no desire to be served by you. Are they teachable? Are they humble? Are they Kingdom minded? Are they fighting for you or against you? If you can’t tell… fire them.
What to say, and not to say.
I want you to stop reading for a moment (not yet) and do this exercise. Close your eyes. Think back to the person whose face you have tried to forget. The last time you saw them was heart rending. The thought of them, the mention of their name, the sound of their voice, the smell of their favorite fragrance brings you to a fit of anxiety. Can you see them? Now answer this question honestly: Was there a word, phrase or comment that destroyed that relationship? Can you recall it? That was easy wasn’t it? To recall those hurtful words. While you can see their face I want you to do this. Whisper if you must, speak outloud if you will, SHOUT if you can. “I am sorry that we have not spoken kindly in so long AND I forgive you.”
“Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it.” ~ James 4:11-12
“Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.” ~ James 2:12-13
“Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.” ~ James 313-16
I know this has been a long post. Thanks for your patience and diligence to endure it to the end. You are awesome and I love you. Thank you for connecting. May God bless you to live a more excellent life.
“Souls are the commodity of the business of Heaven. Are you busy about the Father’s business?” ~ J Loren Norris
J Loren Norris is a Conference Speaker and Certified John Maxwell Team Leadership Coach. Loren is the creator of the Insuperable Vision Workshop. This Two Hour Course is designed to help others create and craft their own personal Insuperable Vision. This workshop is hosted live in the Dallas Ft Worth area annually but is also available on audio CD for self paced home study.