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Managing Your Talents

By Mark McClain - CFO, SailPoint Technologies - "Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ." 2 Corinthians 9:13

One of the challenges I face as I seek to apply biblical truth to my life is ensuring that I properly understand the meaning of Jesus’ parables.

These stories, which Jesus told using real-life examples in a first-century Jewish culture, are often somewhat foreign to me, living in twenty-first century America. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve never actually seen a mustard seed or yeast!)

However, one of the easiest parables for me to apply, especially in the modern-day world of work, is the familiar parable of the talents found in Matthew 25 and Luke 19. The basic premise of the story is that a master (i.e. CEO) provides different amounts of money (resources) to his servants (managers) and then waits to see what they do with it.

Two of the three managers put the money to work and double it for the CEO. The third manager, however, decides to bury it and return it to his boss with no increase. Needless to say, the CEO finds this totally unacceptable and fires him. He then gives that manager’s resources to the highest-performing manager.

Three things have always struck me about this story. First, the boss provides almost no concrete direction to the managers. He simply provides them with resources and then lets them use their abilities and talents to provide the best results they can.

Second, he doesn’t provide each manager with the same amount, which seems to imply that he already suspects that different members of his team have different abilities.

Third, although the CEO gives the second manager less, he provides the same level of commendation to him as he does to the first manager, because both of them doubled his investment.

It strikes me that we can learn a great deal about effective management from this story. In fact, the story provides us with great insight into both the management of our own God-given resources and the management of the resources He provides to us in business, especially human resources.

God doesn’t micromanage us, and He doesn’t want us to micromanage others. He expects us to honestly assess ourselves and those under our direction to maximize the Kingdom impact of what we have been given.

Far too often as leaders, we don’t allow people to use their creativity and initiative to solve problems. We need to let people show us what they can do with what we entrust to them, just as God expects that of us.

God also shows us through this story that we shouldn’t show favoritism when showering praise. We need to remember the same rule we were taught as children playing sports or learning an instrument: Do your best.

Of course, we have to recognize those who are more gifted and generally give them more responsibility. But we should never forget the importance of praising each and every person who does the absolute best with what he or she has been given.

Nothing is more motivating to a worker than to hear “well done!” God has entrusted each of us with so much. May we all strive to consistently deliver a great “return” on His investment in us.

Point to Ponder

God provides each of us with different abilities but expects us to make the most of what we’ve been given.


Questions to Consider

1. Are you a good manager of the resources, both personal and professional, that God has given to you?
2. How are you making the most of the gifts, abilities and resources that God has given to you?

3. How are you praising others at work as they learn to manage their own talents?

From Devotional Ventures, © 2007 by Corey CleekPublished by Regal Books. Used by permission. Allrights reserved.

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posted by Justin Forman | 8.05.2009 - 7:06 AM

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