Let’s look at the man in this parable—the master of these 3 servants. What do we know about this man?
He is going on an extended trip.
He has some wealth.
He has servants.
He knows what each servant can do.
He trusts his servants in accordance with what they could do.
He has high but reasonable expectations of his servants.
He settles accounts with his servants upon return. He models accountability. Trust but inspect. Trust but verify might be modern corollaries.
He rewards his servants in accordance with what they did.
He harvests where he has not sown.
He understands return on investment.
He places high value on faithfulness.
He places a high value on happiness.
He does not put up with debilitating fear. That is to say, courage is essential.
He is master over his servants but expects them to be master over their trusts, in this case, money.
We often put Jesus in the place of this man, this master. It’s a good comparison but surely not complete; however, the man in this parable is surely a good model for any leader.
What could leaders glean from this parable?
Know your people.
Set an example of what return on investment looks like. Harvests where he has not sown. OK, your Okies, think plum thickets.
Employ them in accordance with their abilities.
Trust them based on their track record.
Set high but realistic goals.
Measure and reward. In this case it applies to performance and results.
Promotion is great. Inclusion in the family is greater. Performance is great, but connection and inclusion get you better results.
If fear of failure exceeds the desire to produce good things, it’s time to sever the relationship. If fear governs your decisions, you are not playing on my team. Will I help you deal with this? Yes.
Will I tolerate that mindset? No.
Remember that fear and trust don’t keep company and you are his trusted servant. When you lead, you should have like expectations of those whom you trust.
Many of these should sound familiar. They have appeared in leadership maxims for ages.
You can’t cop out on this one and say that, “Well, I am not in a leadership position.” If you follow Christ, you knowingly or not are a leadership example to others. You have committed to a path. I have decided to follow Jesus! No turning back. No turning back.
Remember, we are also teachers, coaches, parents, supervisors, or even just the guy who trains the new guy. We all have opportunities to lead, so why not use the best examples we can.
We most often take the examples of the servants and apply them to our lives. Today, consider the example of the master in this parable and the Master who gives us life in him as our examples on how to live and how to lead.