The Faithful and Wise Servant
How do You?
All of us have been in positions of responsibility. It might not have been running a Fortune 500 company, but every single job in the world has something it is responsible for. The cashier at the local fast food restaurant is responsible for getting your order right, being polite to customers, and managing the money that is exchanged. I’m not saying that they are doing it the best that they can, but that is the basic responsibility of that job. The janitor of the high school is responsible that the building is in good condition and emergencies are met.
But the big question is “How do we handle our responsibilities?”
What We Want To Get Out of It...
There is a great story in the Bible that Jesus uses to describe a wise and faithful employee. Read Matthew 24:45-51 and Luke 12:42-48. Jesus tells of a manager that was given much in responsibility. It was an important job and the end result could be huge. If the manager did a great job and took care of all his responsibilities no matter what time of day or who was watching, great rewards and promotions would be in the future. Sound pretty easy, huh? Let’s stop here and examine our own work ethics.
You are hired to do a job. The end result for yourself is a paycheck. Admit it. That is the main reason that 99% of us work. We like the bank account to periodically rise above negative.
But what is the employer looking for? They are looking to get their money’s worth and then some. They want the job complete and completed well. Both sides are looking for something out of this arrangement.
Now, let’s look at this scenario. The boss is away at meetings that pretty much are taking him out of the office for several days in a row. You know that the chances of him coming back in are pretty slim. What do you do? Continue working to get all the to-do’s cleaned up? Take a few minutes to breathe before jumping back in? Decide to go shopping? Decide not to keep your voice down when venting about issues or people?
The boss hired you to do a certain job and usually within that job description is a section on work ethic which includes your behavior in and around the office. Most people don’t get paid to belittle others (unless they are drill sergeants) or goof off unless they work for a union (just kidding!!!!!). The boss expects you to act the same when he is there and when he is away. His physical presence should not be the deciding factor on how an employee acts. Why is that so important?
Because that shows the true heart of the person. Think of it from a parent’s point of view. The children might act one way around the parent (good or bad), but the true test of the child’s character is how they act when the parent is not around. I feel such pride when I’m told how well-mannered my children are when they are taken to events without family around. But I’ve also seen where the not so good character comes out. There is a teenage girl in our community that the adults believe walk on water. But as soon as an adult is out of the picture, the smile is replaced with something close to venom. The shock of the sudden change in her and the downright nastiness is something you just have to see. But the true character of her comes out when pressure to be perfect is not there.
How many of us have worked with the employee who is all smiles and seems so hard working while the boss is around? But when the boss is away, the employee surfs the internet or goes shopping? The true character is revealed.
In all honesty, we all are hoping deep down inside that the boss or authority figure comes back at just the right moment to see what we are used to seeing. We want that person to get their just reward. Internally we are wringing our hands in anticipation and hope of such an act. Though in our world we don’t always see that much desired moment.
But let’s switch gears and look at ourselves. How do we handle our work ethic? Are we diligent and hard-working no matter where the boss is standing? Take it out of the work area and into the other areas of our lives. Do we act the same no matter who is around?
Jesus says in Luke, “But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘my master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the menservants and maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk.” Many Christians are mirrored in this verse. Maybe I should put quotations around “Christians” here. Some might say that they know when Christ is returning. Many have tried to give an exact day and time, but according to Scripture no one knows. Not even Jesus knew while he was walking the earth knew the day and time. But is the day and time important? Only to those who are mirrored in the above verse. If you are following your employer’s direction at all times and are honorable and ethical no matter what the circumstances, you have nothing to fear on when he shall return.
He continues saying, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.” He is not saying that the boss might show up one day if everyone is lucky and the one person is particularly unlucky. He is saying that authority WILL show up. No ifs, ands, or buts. It will happen when least expected.
Integrity and honor is important though it seems that it is not emphasized in today’s world. Not in the workplace, the family, or our personal lives. But as Christians it is required.
We want more and more. We demand higher paychecks. We demand outstanding benefits. We demand that our needs be met. I’m not saying that big salaries is wrong or looking for good benefits is either, but are we truly giving responsibility behavior back for each of these expectations? Want a bigger paycheck? Be prepared to work more hours and take on more responsibility. Want to move up in the company? Be prepared to sacrifice a lot.
Small yet Important
Now the question arises on how we handle the “small” jobs. To some building a bridge might not be that big of a task. To some like me who are mathematically challenged, it is beyond me. Way beyond me. To some baking a cake is nothing. To others it is the black hole of cooking. In your own personal conception of “small” jobs, how do you handle them if they are assigned to you?
A CEO of a company interviewed new graduates for his large company. It was stressed that the position was very important. The two young men that were hired were so excited about getting such good jobs right out of school. They arrived on the first day in their best suits and with briefcases in hand. They were led past water fountains that gave the rooms a sense of relaxation and oak doors that screamed important things were going on around here. The CEO himself came out and gave the young men a tour which made them even more impressed and proud of themselves for landing such enviable jobs. Then the time came for their particular jobs. Both were taken to a corner of the seventh floor and shown their cubicles. They were not grand but not shabby either. As they put their stuff down, the CEO took the first man to explain to him his role. He was to make sure that the copier did not run out of paper. That was it. The second man was shown to the break room where everyone came to get their daily doses of coffee. His job was to keep the coffee pots cleaned and flowing with fresh brew. As the days went on, the first young man began to moan and groan about having his college degree and now being paid to just keep the copier stocked. He had better things to do and it wasn’t as though it was a job that required his undivided attention. Gradually he began to spend more and more time on his cell phone, playing solitaire on the computer, or flirting with the office assistants. The second young man was very diligent with his “small” job of coffee making. In fact comments were made many times about how much better the coffee was tasting and fewer trips were being made to the local coffee shops around the corner. This went on for three months and it was time for their new hire review. The CEO called the young men into his office. He looked at the first man and announced that he was to be let go. He then turned toward the second man and said that he was being promoted to vice-president of operations. The first young man was outraged and demanded to know why this was happening this way. They both came from equal schools and had the same grades and degrees. The CEO looked him square in the eyes and said, “I gave you a small job of keeping the copier full of paper. This is a very important job for this company because every minute that we spend in doing those tasks keep up from staying ahead of the competition. You did good in the beginning with all the leaders walking around, but as time went on you were nowhere to be found. As for the coffee around here, it was never handled better. If he can put so much care into making coffee for the company, how much more care will he take in running it?”
We have to show that we are worthy of the paycheck, of the respect, and the responsibilities that we demand. The more responsibilities given to us, the more that is expected of us. Jesus said, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Are you ready to take on responsibility? Are you read to be granted more? Take today and look at your work ethic, your relationship ethic, your personal growth ethic. Are you being faithful and wise with what the Lord has given you? Are you ready to be honored with more responsibility by your Master?