Some of you reading this might already be familiar with the ‘Parable of the Talents,’ but it’s worth a brief retelling. The story, which appears in the gospels of Matthew and Mark, involves a master who entrusts three servants with some of his ‘talents,’ or gold coins, while he’s away on business. Two of the servants take a risk by putting the money to work and end up doubling their master’s wealth. The third servant, however, buries his share to ‘keep it safe’ and so doesn’t generate any returns. (Indeed it likely loses value because of inflation.)
When the master returns, he’s so pleased at how the first two servants grew his wealth that he puts them in charge of ‘many things’ and invites them to share in his own success.
The third servant, though, he calls ‘wicked and lazy’ and says he might as well have deposited the money in a bank while he was away – at least then he would have received a little interest. The servant is punished by having his share of the talents given to the two who faithfully grew their master’s money, leaving him with nothing.
The lesson here should be plainly obvious, and we can express it in a number of different ways: There can be no reward without risk. You must spend money to make money. You reap what you sow. This should resonate with investors, entrepreneurs and any true believer in the power of capitalism.
Jesus’ parable applies not just to individuals but to corporations as well. Companies must grow to keep up with the rising cost of labor and materials and to stay competitive. To do that, they must put their money to work just as the two servants do.
And just as the two servants were invited to share in their master’s success, corporate growth has a multiplier effect – for the company’s employees and their families, shareholders, the local economy, strategic partners, companies up and down the supply chain and much more.
This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 14 November 2017.