Effective Management from the Bible

In Matthew 25:14-30, the Lord Jesus used a story to illustrate what the future would be like. In the story, a king called together his three servants and entrusted each of them with a certain amount of money. Apparently, he knew what each one could handle. The first was entrusted with five talents of money, the second with two, and the third with one. While the king was gone, his servants had the opportunity to use the money as they thought best. The first two invested the money while the third hid it in a hole.

When the king returned, he called his servants into a meeting to report on their work. The first servant had invested the five talents and earned five more. The king was pleased and rewarded him with more responsibility. The second servant had invested the two talents and earned two more. The king was also pleased with him and rewarded him with more responsibility. But the third servant had done nothing with the king’s money. After voicing his excuses, he was reprimanded and removed from his position. And not surprisingly, the hidden talent was taken from him and given to the first servant to invest.

While the story emphasizes the need for faithfulness, I couldn’t help but notice several lessons in management. In the story, the king gave each servant only what he knew he could handle. That is a good point. A good manager should entrust his employees with only the amount of responsibility they can handle. While it might be good to start each new employee with the same amount of limited responsibility, time will reveal the amount of responsibility each one can handle. It is not unfair to give to and expect more from the most efficient. That’s just good management. And that leads to another thing I noticed in the story.

After he returned from his trip, the king had each servant report on his work. This enabled him to make wise choices about their effectiveness and continued service to him. From this I see that a good manager will monitor the effectiveness of his employees. As he monitors them, a good manager should differentiate between those who are faithful and those who are not. Good employees should be rewarded for their work and given more responsibility. And when possible, their work should be rewarded with increased pay or a promotion to management. The opposite is also true. Lazy employees should be reprimanded or removed as necessary. If the employee is not doing his work, he needs to know that this is unacceptable. And if the reprimand does not result in better performance, at some point he will have to be dismissed.

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