Leveraging Others: "Reaping where thou has not sown"

Starting and growing a successful business requires a lot of time and effort – in most cases too much time and effort for a single individual. In order to create wealth, it’s necessary and important to leverage others, meaning you profit from the work other people do. This might sound a little shady, but it's actually a principle taken from the Bible. In the parable of talents, we see it play out for one boss and his employees.

Here's how the story goes: A landowner (businessman) divides his goods among three of his employees before he leaves on a journey. To the first employee, he gave 5 talents; to the second, he gave 2; to the third, he gave 1. The Bible says he divided the talents among the employees according to their ability. When he returned, he evaluated their stewardship based on how faithful each was in making wise investments with the talents. The first invested his 5 talents and made 5 more. The second invested his 2 talents and made 2 more.  To which their boss says “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” The third employee, however, was afraid because his boss was a “hard man”. He took and hid the talent in the ground, then dug it up when the boss returned, having gained nothing. The land owner is clearly unhappy about this. He tells this employee, “Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not. . . Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.”

There’s a lot we can take away from this story, but let’s look at what we call “leverage.” When the landowner says, “I reap where I sowed not,” this means he makes money even where he did no work. He does that by having his employees work for him while he's away on a journey - that's leverage. It's really important to note that he took a risk when he left his money with his employees... one of them ended up not being a good steward. We see wisdom on the entrepreneur's part; he obviously knew his risk was greater with the third employee, and he only left him in charge of one talent. Overall he was profitable because he leveraged the two employees that were good stewards, and minimized his risk with the third.

This is exactly what happens today any time an entrepreneur hires employees. Still sound kind of shady? It shouldn’t… think about this: Isn’t the employee that is a good steward also profiting too? Isn’t he glad to have a job? Hopefully he’s learning from his experiences, setting personal goals, and even setting money aside to start his own business some day. Without his boss (who deserves the money because he is assuming the risk), this employee wouldn’t have such an opportunity. A good boss, like the landowner in this parable, will reward those that take appropriate risk, and do a good job (just like the Lord does with us.) Remember, the master told the two servants who doubled his money, “I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” They were asked to become partners in the business, and they hadn't had to assume all of the risks the landowner had to build the business from the start.These employees were now in a very good place!

Leveraging others isn’t only necessary and important, it’s actually GOOD according to Matthew 25! It’s how wealth is created in a free market, and it provides opportunity for all involved!