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Genuine or Imitation? Will You Treasure Your Name?

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As we go about our daily business, taking care of the bottom line and realigning our organizations, our names keep making a mark on those around us, whether we intend them to or not.

“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1-2

Do you know the meaning of your name? Each of our names has its own special meaning, even though many parents today don’t pay much attention to it. Names used to tell so much more about a person.

Some time ago, I was curious about my name. So I looked it up and found out that it means “pearl, the finest of things; the finest example of something.” Well, that’s nice!

And then a thought crossed my mind: Do I live up to the meaning of my name? Or am I just an imitation? When my friends, family members or coworkers hear my name, what thoughts come to mind? Are they good thoughts? Thoughts of grace, love, kindness, compassion, transparency, honesty and joy? Or do they get this “uneasy” feeling in their stomachs when my name is mentioned?

As leaders and influencers, we may not realize that just the sound of our names will evoke thoughts, memories, and emotions in others. As we go about our daily business, taking care of the bottom line and realigning our organizations, our names keep making a mark on those around us, whether we intend them to or not.

In Proverbs 22, we are told that a “good name is more desirable than great riches.” We are told that to have the esteem of others is so much better than wealth, possessions and positions. But do we lead in such a way that reflects our desire for a “good name”?  Or do we place more value on our positions, power over others and building wealth—all the while completely disregarding our names?

Not too long ago, news channels carried the story about a car manufacturer that had been hiding an airbag issue since 2004. The manufacturer knew about the issue, yet failed to disclose it in a timely manner. Why? Maybe fixing the issue would negatively impact the “bottom line” of the business, so the decision was made to hide the problem. Maybe those on the lower end of the totem pole who first identified the issue did not speak up for fear of losing their jobs or disclosing their mistake. We could go on and on with the “maybes.” What’s apparent is that this car manufacturer did not believe maintaining a “good name” was their top priority.

Now back to the pearl… There are probably more counterfeit pearls out there than genuine ones. Some are pretty easily detected. Others, on the other hand, resemble the genuine ones so closely that only an expert can tell the two apart.

Every day, I face a choice. Will I reflect the true meaning of my name? Will I be a genuine, authentic pearl, or will I sacrifice my “good name” to get my own way—achieving results with questionable means that appear to “justify” the end and disregard others in the process?

When tempted by Satan, Jesus also had a choice to make. He could have chosen food, safety and power versus obedience to His Father’s will. You see, choosing to focus on our good names will often require sacrificing an immediate benefit, or so we think. In reality, what we gain in exchange is much more precious in the eyes of God. Long-term, it will prove to be the best leadership decision we’ve ever made.

So, when others hear the mention of your name, I hope their minds will be flooded with memories of kindness, extended grace, love in the toughest of circumstances and God-inspired and God-infused authority.

May you lead like Jesus!

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