“So who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will put in charge of his household to give them their rations at the right time? That servant is blessed, whose master finds him doing so when he comes. Really I’m telling you, that he will be put in charge of all his possessions” – Luke 12:42-43
I love these verses in Luke for one very simple reason, the word translated above as “household” is the Greek word “therapeias” from which we get the English word “therapy”. (Some versions of the Bible translate the word as “service”, but that makes the sentence grammatically odd in English as it doesn’t make clear who the “them” are that get treated therapeutically by the faithful and wise manager).
Now management is always about people, sure there is a task to be achieved, but a manager coordinates a team towards an end, they would not be a manager if they just did it themselves. And so the way we manage is always therapy for someone, good or bad our leadership has an emotional impact.
Jesus’ assumption is that good management is good therapy for the team! It is not just short term target hitting..
Now if you look at the outside shape of this story in Luke 12 for its Kingdom principles, it doesn’t fit easily as a parable about the church and it’s leaders, (despite being given to the Disciples regarding their own leadership calling). In the parable the the managers are willfully abusing people and the master is pretty harsh too, violence reaps violence. True it might describe some churches at their worst, but what is Kingdom about that! .
But if we look at it from the inside we see the leven of the Kingdom at work, the principle that changes the world from the inside out. Even those with middle-management responsibility have the ability to create a therapeutic environment, a place of that aids well-being.
Now we see something incredibly relevant to every believer, not just to church leaders. In fact Peter starts by asking if what Jesus is teaching them is for just them or for everybody? Luke 12:41, and Jesus’ answer is clearly that it is for everyone.
After all every follower of Jesus should find themselves in a position where that are responsible for managing people, it is part of being the head not the tail. And in those positions, team leader, department manager, business owner etc, there is something about the way in which we manage that can be incredible therapy for our bruised and broken colleagues. It is more than just being kind and fair, we have the ability by the way we hold those around us in our hearts and attitudes to release a supernatural grace and love, a grace that heals.
In fact I would go further and say that the opportunities offered by our work life give us a responsibility to minister to those we manage regardless of whether they want “it” or even whether we want “to”! The therapy of the Kingdom can be healing for those we manage long before they come to church. And if your wounds don’t hurt so much you don’t need to be as defensive with those that might challenge or change you.
So even in a harsh and competitive industry we can create micro-climates that are good for those we cover, in fact our kindness contrasted by the wider and harsher reality may even make our testimony stand out more clearly.
So what might this therapy look like day to day…
Well our jobs can be very different and so our solutions will be too, but I suspect they all start with prayer, prayer for the well-being of those we have responsibility for. Then I suspect there will be times when we take criticism as the manager that is really due to a team member, our own mini modelling of the cross.
We might use our role to be developmental even in ways that can be painful in the moment for the recipient… because it is indifference that doesn’t bother, love of course cares. Jesus was often tough in his love with his disciples, but he never sought to control or exclude them for the things he had to challenge them on.
Promotion is great blessing when we get it, but we shouldn’t forget how Jesus ends this teaching.
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required and to him who has been entrusted with much, of him all the more will be asked” – Luke 12:48
It’s an honour to be given a role over people, we should enjoy the privileges but not shirk the responsibility intrinsic to the favour. To be the faithful and wise manager of Jesus’ therapy. And if that is not enough, there is a blessing associated with good therapy too:
“Really I’m telling you, that he will be put in charge of all his possessions” .
|This image has nothing to do with the post, but it is what came up on the google
image search when I looked for “faithful and wise servant” !!