A Good Name

A good reputation or a good name is hard to come by but can be lost very easily. Your success at work and I’d argue, in life, is directly linked to your reputation. Spend a moment and think of a leader or person in your life that you’d like to emulate or is someone that you really enjoy speaking with. Maybe it’s someone that has helped you in your career or trained you in something new. Now ask yourself, have I done any of these things for others? It’s difficult for us to know what our own reputation is; at least what people really think of us. Taking time to reflect on your own reputation and to answer these questions may help you measure how good your name really is.

Society has placed a lot of emphasis on being successful (riches) and we are often judged by the things we have. The good news for today is that we can see that changing. People are becoming more concerned with making a difference or experiencing what life has to offer than they are with amassing wealth. The “tiny house” movement is a great example. I had a friend once asked, are you being significant or successful? He suggests that being significant to someone or to others is far more important than any material success you may achieve. I couldn’t agree more.

Proverbs 22:1 “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

Every day, we all have the opportunity to demonstrate our faith by being an example of living a Christian life. To create a good name, you can show others your compassion, caring, understanding and patience. Being aggressive in business has been rewarded with bonuses and perks but these things may all be at the cost of your good name.

We learn from the message in Proverbs that it is better to be esteemed rather than rich. Today, we are faced with a mountain of challenges but in the end, we should be striving to make a difference. God will provide great riches beyond this life and He will give you the most important of all good names – Saved One. Leadership is not about getting something; it is about giving yourself to others, to share what you know so that others can become significant. We are all leaders to someone in our lives – whether we know it or not. Jesus led the disciples and showed the way of Christian living. St. Paul lead the churches of the region through his letters and moral support. If God can use St. Paul, while in jail, to provide leadership that has lasted for more than 2000 years, how hard can it be for us to be significant?

I’ve Got Mine!

Win at all costs! An expression that we heard often in the 1990’s and it seems to be making a comeback as we start to struggle with recovering from the effects of the pandemic. “I’ve got mine, sorry you don’t.” I wrote last week about people wanting more from corporations and that the workforce is starting to look at the bigger picture – corporate responsibility that is socially conscious. Today, more than ever, we need to understand that together we conquer, divided we fall. What happens when we give up everything to “win”?

How aggressive do you play to win? Do nice guys really finish last? If we all look into our pasts, chances are good that we will see times when it appears that or perhaps, we actually did; forfeit our souls to get ahead. What is worth trading your soul for? The riches of the world are very appealing: new cars, bigger houses, a boat, jewelry and the like. These are the material things of this world that we are reminded about throughout the bible, not to pay attention to but to keep our focus on God. Be careful of the circumstances that don’t feel right, but you can’t understand why. They are from your soul telling you not to give part of it away.

Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for a man if he gains the world yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

As the days and months ahead drag on, we need to be living according to God’s word more than ever before. What can a man give in exchange for his soul? We may gain much in this life but if we do little with it, we will be very disappointed with our results. We are assured by John in the second part of verse 3:16 “for whoever believes in him will have eternal life”. We can rest assured that God will keep his promises to us.

What obligation do you have to God? We should be willing to be faithful servants to Him and we can do that by putting our beliefs into action. Leading by example in your everyday life, like a good Christian, with truth, ethics, nobility, compassion and with God as your guiding force is a good place to start. Oftentimes, it is always “just one more time” for us – one more time to bend the numbers and I’ll have the next promotion or one more time to gossip about a co-worker and I’ll get the best assignment or one more time to take care of myself before I care about others or simply, I’ve got mine and no one else deserves it because I worked hard for it. There are now and there will certainly be people who will need our help – homeless, unemployed, uninsured and the hungry. What can you offer? Today, if you’re still focused on the gains of this world, turn away from what you’re doing, turn away from what you’ve done and live your life as if your soul depends on it, it just might!

Scattering Seed

Leading by example is sometimes easier said than done. My son just got his learner’s permit for driving. To help him learn about what is happening on road around the car, we have him sit in the front seat. He’ll start in parking lots, and then move to residential streets before getting on to the streets with other cars. As we drive around, I have already found myself saying “don’t do what I’ve done or what I do – do as I say”. I’ve already failed in my “lead by example” and we haven’t really started! The whole experience reminds me of watching someone get promoted into a leadership position that now has to change everything they are in order to get the job done. We’ve all seen the guy who comes in late to meetings and is not prepared, get promoted, and suddenly expects people to “tow the line” when he is put in charge. How are you in your day-to-day actions? We all falter but are you more disruptive than you are helpful at work? As leaders we have the responsibility to watch everything we do, we will never really know the impact of our actions for some time. This is where being significant is more important than being successful.

“He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:26-27.

Spread the word! I’ve often heard that said but these verses from Mark really add new meaning. We scatter seed every day in our lives as Christians. We come into contact with people and can affect them simply through verbal and non-verbal communication. Our attitude tells about what lies deep within us but our actions tell the rest of the story. We can scatter seeds that flourish or we can scatter seeds that result in weeds but make no mistake, we are always scattering seeds. No matter what we do or say, the seeds that we scatter will grow. Jesus has told us to spread the word. God has given us the instructions, through His word in the bible, to “go and make disciples of all men”. The message is clear, scatter the seeds and they will sprout and grow. We won’t know how but we can be assured that they will. Following Easter and the good news of salvation, we should have no trouble scattering the seeds of eternal life.

Lead by Example

“Do as I say and not as I do” never really works for any of us and it only leaves us the option to “do as I do” or simply, lead by example. Walking the talk every minute of every day and not letting down even for a moment is actually easier than it sounds. As a leader, you must be aware that your people are watching you. When we don’t do as we say, they start asking “Why should I do it when the boss doesn’t?” We usually don’t have an answer for that except to take a line from our parents “because I said so”. The military has a very good model for us to consider following when leading the way. The Generals running operations in the Middle East could certainly receive their reports and briefings from field units from the comfort of their offices in the Pentagon just as easily as they do from their forward command posts in Afghanistan. They are in country just like the men and women they lead because setting the right example is important. They wear the same uniform, follow the same protocols and lead by example all of the time, not just when someone is looking.

Deuteronomy 5:33 – “Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days…”

Jesus left us a great example to follow and that’s exactly what God wants from us. God knows we’ll struggle, only Jesus was perfect; that’s why it’s called following and not duplicating. God wants us to walk in the way, do as Jesus did by loving each other, being compassionate and caring for others, forgiving others and ourselves and learning the word of God. God’s grace has given us eternal life – to live and prosper and prolong our days. He asks that we follow the example provided by His son, Jesus Christ. Spend time learning the examples given to us in the bible and then put those examples in front of you everyday. Practice daily what you learn and imagine Jesus saying to you “do as I do”. Whether you are a designated leader or dedicated employee, people are watching you every day. Learning the lessons given to us by Jesus, we will not only lead our people in our businesses but we will provide everyone around us with a great Christian example to follow. Walking in the way of the Lord will be easier than you think.