Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Charles sees another piece of 3M sticker on Frank’s desk, ‘Out for the afternoon’. He looks annoyingly at Francis, his colleague; both troubled over their team member’s attitude. What happened? A quick thought emerges in Francis’ mind. He still believes in Frank’s capability as Dr. Bergman, the CEO, did not leave any negative words for him when he entrusted the multi-million Project to the three of them.

A strange illness has since plagued Dr. Bergman and he has gone to the Far East looking for a cure, leaving the whole company to the trio. BakeHeart recently declared a hefty jump in their dividends pay-out since they were public listed. Dr. Bergman’s dedication and masterly skill with people have made him one of the best CEOs in the city. Always cheerful and generous, he was well-liked both by BakeHeart's workers and his clients.

“Can you talk with Frank? I think he has not been concentrating on this latest Hypermarket Project,” Francis pleads with Charles. “Mr. Bergman had put his entire hope on this and any wrong move will have serious consequences,” he adds with a stony face. “I will try. But if he wants out, there is nothing you and I are going to do about it,” Charles snaps.

The Next Day…

Frank whistles his way into the office. “Good morning! Oh, Charles and Francis want to meet you at the latter’s office now,” the secretary speaks sweetly as she passes by.

Yeah! What else? Is the Hypermarket crap again! Frank smiles and offers her a casual thanks.

“You are late again, Bro,” Charles shoots as Frank saunters in.

“Oh..late for what?” he answers annoyingly, like they break his pleasure momentum. Both Francis and Charles know of his partying spirit.

“Late for reporting to us about your meeting with the GM of FOCUS Hypermarket,” Charles interjects angrily.

“Come on, Frank. We need you to settle down. This is serious,” Francis adds.

“Oh..you mean I am playing a fool, is that right?” Frank snaps. “Okay. I admit I am a little lax these days but hey, relax, it’s not like that old man is going to return anytime soon,” he continues ranting.

“No, Frank. You got it wrong. He gave us his trust and Charles and I are not going to lose that by being irresponsible,” Francis clarifies with his usual down to earth honesty.

“Okay! Okay! I will make the appointment with Clarkson of FOCUS soon,” Frank retorts, seeing the seriousness of his two colleagues.

“What? What have you been doing all these while? You mean you have not even met with Clarkson!” Charles turns his back to face the wall. Francis shakes his head.

"As the acting CEO in this company, I want you to lay your hands off this Project from now on. You will now handle some small retail projects for BakeHeart,” Charles commands. “I don’t know what has distracted you but with smaller projects, I hope you can manage better,” he offers Frank the best available option.

“Okay, if this is what you want me to do,” Frank accepts his lot. He feels a little embarrassed but at the same time, relieved.

“I believe this is what Dr. Bergman would want you to do. He believes in not overburdening his staff,” Francis reminds him.

A Month Later…

Frank scampers into the Boardroom, unkempt both in his attire and hair. He takes a seat and straightens his tie. Feeling a little uneasy at the surprise meeting, he looks around. Strange! Why so quiet this time, unlike the previous meetings? He senses two hands rest upon his shoulders at the back and as he turns around, his jaws drop. It's the CEO! He wasn't aware all along Mr. Bergman standing there at the corner, getting his usual dose of black coffee. The CEO’s hands this time feel like a huge sack that sags right down his spine.

“Oh..Dr. Bergman. Go…od Morning. I didn’t see you just…just..now,” he rises up to greet him. The CEO just takes a seat, leaving Frank’s hand unshaken.

“Well done, Charles and Francis! I just got a call from FOCUS and they have agreed to all our requirements for the contract. BakeHeart has now doubled in its expansion plan. Thank you!” Bergman speaks excitedly to the applause of all in the meeting.

“Charles and Francis, you both are now officially promoted to First and Second Most Senior Manager of the Company,” he rises to clap softly. Everyone rises to clap except Frank, who slumps in his chair.

“I have received reports of some retail outlets being neglected. And that had caused some losses to the company. It is not so much of monetary losses but the image of BakeHeart. Frank, what have you got to say?” the CEO sits down as all eyes turn towards Frank. The lazy and distracted man stares at Charles and Francis.

“You are fired! All the perks you have taken from this company must be paid back by end of this month or else?” Bergman warns.

“Okay. This wraps out today’s meeting. Oh yes, all of you will be given a trip to Europe for a week as we are going to celebrate like crazy for the unbelievable successful year,” he pats Charles’ back and leaves.

Everyone is so taken aback by the generosity of Dr. Bergman. As everyone leaves the room, Frank puts his hands over his face and cries in deep anguish.

The Parable of the Talents is found in Matthew 25:14-30 and a slight difference in Luke 19:12-27.

Before the man begins his journey, he entrusts money to his servants for the sole purpose of investment. In Matthew, the Bible does not specify where he is going but in Luke, we know he is going to be crowned as king. Both these parables are spoken by Jesus almost at the end of His time on earth. This time, Jesus is concerned about His disciples more than those who oppose Him (Luke 19:14-15, 27).

Together with the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus desires them not only to enter the kingdom of God but to do well! There is no plan B for Jesus when He leaves the earth, the disciples will be passed the baton.

First of all, the lazy wicked servant deserves his rightful place, in darkness.

In Matthew Parable, we read about the owner who is first of all not a taskmaster (Matthew 25:15). He is actually quite generous in entrusting everything to his servants. A Talent is many years’ wages of an ordinary average worker. This means that the third servant gets a good deal too! The master is not only generous in parting with money, he is generous with praises too (Matthew 25:20-23; Luke 19:16-19). In Matthew’s parable, he praises the two servants with same exact words. This tells us that our Master Jesus will judge us by our faithfulness and not success according to numbers and statistics.

By hiding on the ground such huge sum of money, the lazy servant has not only broken trust but lost the value of it due to depreciation caused by inflation. He is so lazy that going to the money-changers (which is not a desired thing to do for fund managers) is a burden. Perhaps he is so distracted that he is not even aware that he has hidden his master's money. He has forgotten that his master is coming back and he is accountable for everything. Worse, he even accuses his master of being a taskmaster which is not true at all. He is not only lazy but wicked as well.

In contrast, the two servants are good and faithful who deserve rewards from their master.

1. They desire to please their master when he returns.
2. They know their given responsibility until the master returns.
3. They seize every opportunity before their master returns.

There is a fundamental difference between the lazy servant and the two trusted ones. The relationship with their Master. The faithful acts of the two faithful servants stem from a sound relationship with their coming Master. The previous parable about the virgins illustrates the same ingredient missing in the five foolish virgins. Therefore, Jesus uses these stories to drive home a point - your relationship with God somehow determines your obedience to Him.

The kingdom of God is soon climaxing and reaching its shore on earth. Will our Master find all His servants doing their very best for Him? Again, Jesus has no Plan B, we are the only lights in the world today. Are you hiding or are you shining?

Next: Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

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