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540. What Is The Cost of a Good Name? June 9, 2024 

Updated: Jun 10


KEY SCRIPTURES: Proverbs 22:1

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.


RELEVANCE

I may have shared this before. It's a story that didn't make my book, although, at times, I think it should have. It's about that decision some of us must make to clear our name when it has been besmirched. Do we bother or move on?


One month after being released from prison, I got a contractor's job at one of Australia's two major sign companies. At that time, it was rolling out a national rebranding package for Shell Australia. As I pointed out in my prior message, I was promoted to Supervisor a few weeks after commencement, looking after a team of fifteen people.


You have seen the products we made, as they are still in place on Shell Service Stations 30 years later. The next time you visit or drive past a Shell Service Station, look above the fill-up area at the shiny yellow curved fascia with the red bar near the bottom, which glows at night. We made every panel and red bar on every service station across the nation.


Working under a production manager, my job was to ensure that those products were made, assembled, packed, and dispatched on time without defects or missing components. Semi-trailers were lined up and ready for loading.


We worked from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with a 15-minute smoko at 10:00 a.m. and a half-hour lunch at 1:00 p.m. Then we worked until knock-off. We were human sweat machines, trying to keep up with this massive rollout. 


Specifically, my job was hands-on assembly, but I also had to keep several small teams operating as fast as possible without incidents or reasons to cease work. One crew screwed the delicate yellow panels to aluminium frames. Another did minor electrical work fitting fluorescent tubes, and another glued clear acrylic panels to the rear of the red bar. A couple of workers assembled small bags of minor fittings, which were critical to installation, and another team wrapped and packed all the assembled products into wooden crates.


I viewed my teams as one large production machine with several cogs, and my role was to ensure it moved at the optimum pace without squeak or breakdown. In reality, that meant I would forward plan, ensuring materials and incidentals were ordered and delivered on time, electrical or air tools were regularly serviced and returned, and workers were satisfied and encouraged. They had the freedom to highlight problems quickly.


This system seemed to work until the company hired a Judas in disguise. He worked in one of my teams but was a drinking buddy of the production manager. He was also an ex-prosecuting police officer. It wasn't long before the production manager began to take me aside to sort out 'production issues'. We didn't know then, but Judas made up false stories and conveyed them to the manager. Regardless of what I said in defence, the manager took the side of Judas, replacing me with him as Supervisor.


Not long after that, several good workers were fired, and broad distrust emerged. My contractor's job was down to 2-3 days per week, causing me to find additional employment. I was on the verge of resigning. However, had I resigned, my name, which became blemished to management due to Judas, would have remained that way. So, I stayed, our key scripture ever reciting itself in my mind.


It took a full year, and it was a long one, but the company replaced the production manager, and Judas was caught fudging his time cards—getting paid for days he didn't turn up for work, which is a bit like tax fraud. He was instantly and dishonourably dismissed. Within a few days, I was exonerated, reclaiming my former role and moving on to other roles in the company, including Purchasing Officer and chair of the recently formed Quality Committee.


During those twelve months, the atmosphere was like living in a communist regime where distrust was rife—workers would not speak socially when Judas or the manager were in the vicinity.


That new production manager apologised to me as we left the building one evening. He said, "We nearly lost your services a while back, didn't we? That would have been such a loss to the company".


It was an odd sort of apology but one that made the duress of working under those conditions to clear my name worth every minute. Due to that one decision, after I eventually left the company, they rang me 5-6 times in the next 12 months to return to take control of a wildly out-of-control department. I returned and systemised that section, bringing it into profit within a few months.


I don't know if you have been in a similar situation, and if you have, what you decided to do. But as I look back now, many years later, I know that God was with me through it all. Even back then, I knew He stood beside me in that decision because it was His scripture driving me. I just needed to hang in until God swung the victory around. But we need to be honest with ourselves that it is a Judas and not our own lack of integrity, bold mouth or unlearned decisions causing the strife.


Many Bible stories are about patience until God brings victory. However, a critical factor in my situation was integrity. Had I engaged or retaliated in any way other than truth, uprightness and honourable principles, I don't believe the outcome would have been the same. God encourages us to do all to stand and then stand. When we do, that makes His job much easier in the heavenly realm.


If you find yourself in a Judas situation, choose God. 


Prayer

Dear Lord, many believers have experienced their Judas. Thank you for my incident; it made me a richer person for the hardship. I pray that if others go through a similar challenge may you guide, protect and lead them out safely as you did me.


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez

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