When I was a child, I heard so many times how adults were saying that no one in the world was working as the Moldovans did. And it is true, we saw that all people from our village were working a lot. They were getting up early in the morning, were going to bed late in the evening and were working hardly. But, since that times has past a lot of time, I have managed to see how people work in other countries to be able to compare the attitudes. I have discovered some other new things that are really paradoxical. On the one hand, most people, especially young men, don’t have a work place now and a big part of them are looking for a job, or at least they say this. On the other hand, those who are looking to employ workers complain that it is particularly hard to find a confidential person for any job. Then, someone said that he employed a team of constructors who said they are believers and made an unqualified work, and at the end they had exaggerated claims concerning the payment. Another time I heard how at a filling station an unbeliever recommended to another unbeliever to go to a master, who is a believer to fix his car. He said: “I know a believer who will fix your car the best. You will not find anywhere a man who works so well and who is so honest and correct with people.” How good I felt to hear these words and how pleased this conversation was for God. The Bible speaks a lot about work and about the attitude that we must have at our work place. It is impossible to present all that the Bible says on this subject in one article. That’s why, I propose to you to see some truths about the correct atitude that we must have at the work place, based on a parable told by Jesus Christ. A week before His crucufixion, Jesus Christ spent time with His disciples alone to communicate and to point out once again the most important things for them. In a day, while He was staying with them on the Mount of Olives, he told them the next parable:
Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, ‘Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’ And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. ’Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’ For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:13–30)(NASB)
This parable presents people while working, both the leader and the subaltern and shows us different attitudes: right or wrong.
I. The attitude of the good leader regarding work and workers
In this parable the good leader is the master of the slaves and is fully implied in work. He went on a journey, and the context of the whole parable makes us understand that he goes on a business trip and because he is interested in maximal profit. This attitude of his is shown by the way he proceeded at the departure and at the arrival. This is what he did:
He “called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them”. A good leader has and shows trust to the man that are under his leadership and his relation with his sublaterns is based upon reciprocal trust. When there is no reciprocal trust, this produces dissatisfaction, suspicion and finally, lie or even theft.
The leader “entrusted his possessions to …each of them”. So, he implies all people in work and nobody remains aside. But by the way he implies everybody, he does something important too.
He “entrusted his possessions to them: to one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability”. This leader knows very well the people that are under his leadership, he knows what is their power or ability to work an he gives them tasks according to their own ability.
The leader offers to the people the possibility to have initiative and be artistic. He lets the people that are under his leadership to decide by themselves the way they will trade the money. We, people, were created in God’s own likeness and image and we find fulfillment and joy when we create something and it is good. The leader didn’t lack his workers of this joy and didn’t lead himself according to the principle, that I have heard from people for many times: “The initiative is punished!”
“Now after a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them”. To trust people, it doesn’t mean not to settle accounts with them. When you settle accounts with your subalterns, you get to the bottom of the things, you make a good evaluation of the how the work is going on and you understand what must be changed, re-planned or intensified. You understand where it is worthy to invest efforts and where it has no importance to invest. Because he settled accounts, the leader from the cited parable saw who briought profit and who wasted. If he hadn’t settled accounts, the things would have gone in the same way further on or even worse. The verification made by him showed the loyalty of the men and how their ability and power to work grew too.
The good leader gave his appreciation and praised the good workers who had worked according to their power and ability. He said to the two: “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”. He shared the joy of the success with his workers, even if in the parable he was on a master’s position and they were slaves. Many leaders lose at this point, when they do not share the joy of their success with the workers that are a part of the same team and who worked together to realize the success.
The good leader dismissed the worker who was wicked and lazy and who wasted the master’s possession.
II. The attitude of the good worker regarding work and his leader
In this parable said by Jesus Christ there were two good slaves who had a different power and ability of work. One was able to trade five talants and the other – two. But what is beautiful is that they were confidential persons who had the same beautiful attitude regarding work and their master. This attitude of the good worker is emphasized from the next things:
The good worker “went and traded with them, and gained … more talents”. So, he is an obedient man of action. He didn’t lose a moment, because he understands the value of the time, that is the greatest wealth of every man and on the way you manage your time, you will win or lose. He went immediately to action and had profit.
The good worker settles specific accounts, that is specific numbers. One said: “Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents”. The second said: “Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.” It is not in their account something unnecessary.
III. The attitude of the bad worker regarding work and his master
The master was angry with this slave and called him wicked and lazy. This two qualities describe his attitude and the below truths will confirm and make us understand this attitude better.
- The bad worker doesn’t appreciate the trust of the people and in this way, he loses it definitively. The master of the wicked and lazy slave knows his slaves well, because he knows each slave’s power and ability to work. The master neither mistaked regarding those two good slaves nor he mistaked regarding the last slave, when he entrusted him a talant. But, the wicked and lazy slave didn’t attach much value of the offered chance or of the trust that his master had in him.
- The bad worker tries to hide his wickedness and laziness under the mask of exagerrated precaution. He went and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money, as if he didn’t want to run any risk. The master says that he could have gone and have put his money in the bank, to have at least a little gain. But, he didn’t do this, as it is written further, fearing not to lose the money. People who fear to take a reasonable risk, risk the most by their innaction. It is so bad to take an exaggerated risk, but is worse if you don’t take any risk at all.
- The bad worker criticizes the leader and his benefactor unjustly. The master gave him a possibility to manifest himself as a confidential person, when he gave a talant to him. He didn’t only refuse to profit of this occasion, but he also said about the master in front of the other slaves: “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.” And he wasn’t right at all. The master wasn’t hard with none of them, but he was just. The master didn’t reprove or impede them in their job, as a lot of leaders do this today. The words “reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed”, are not true too, because the master gave him a talant and in this way he sow, or invested.
- The bad worker doesn’t see himself guilty and blames others of his failures, or would-be laziness. In other words, he wanted to say to his master like this: “Because you are a hard man, I was frightened and didn’t do anything”. But this is not the truth. This was his wickedness and badness that hid his laziness.
IV. Jesus is the master and Christians are the workers.
In every parable that is written in the Holy Scriptures, the Lord Jesus wanted to emphasize and communicate to the listeners an important truth. He told this parable only to his disciples, after he told them about the destruction of Jerusalem and the disciples asked: “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3)(NASB). The disciples were considering that these two events go together and at the same time as Jerusalem is destroyed, the Lord Jesus will come back from heavens. If some disciples were more interested in the time the Lord Jesus and in the signs of His coming and in the end of the age, Jesus Christ told them more about the way how we must wait for Him. In the parable, the Lord Jesus compares Himself with that master who goes and then comes back. The disciples are those to whom He has entrusted the great commandment:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20)(NASB)
At his departure, in the day of His ascension, Jesus Christ entrusted them “His possession”, the Gospel, when He told them: “… and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”(Acts 1:8)(NASB)
V. What kind of worker are you
The Word of God says: “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (James 1:22)(NASB). Because I want to be a doer of the Word, I got used to analyse myself according to the truth I have learnt from the Bible and I asked myself some specific questions, that will help me live according to the Word of God. I propose to you to answer these questions that helped me a lot:
- What is it not right in the way you report to the people who are under your leadership?
- What will you do to improve the way you lead according to the Word of God?
- What is it not right in your attitude regarding your work?
- What is it not right in your attitude regarding your leader at the work place?
- How do you act concerning to the Gospel by which you have been saved and that was entrusted by the Lord Jesus to share it with others?
- What are the results of your work in the Gospel?
- What can you do to be more efficient in preaching the Gospel?
May God bless us with a beautiful attitude at our work place and at preaching the Gospel, so that when our Lord Jesus Christ comes back, we will be able to settle account with beautiful, real and specific numbers, so that He may tell us: “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master”.
Translated by Djugostran Felicia