Dear Employee: Lessons in Stewardship

Hello people of the world!

How has July been for you? I do hope it’s better than the first half of the year. Irrespective of where you are and what you’ve been through – don’t give up! It will only get better! Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith, we will scale through this pandemic and the inherent challenges. We are grateful to be alive and well, celebrate that and look ahead to better days! For those of you who have shared the blog link with friends or talked about the it; you are the real rock stars! Thank you!

While reading my Bible a few days ago; I came across a couple of insights and decided to share with you – my favorite audience. I do hope this is a blessing to you, changing your thinking and spurring positive change where necessary. Let’s get into it!

Our character for today’s discussion is David (1 Samuel 16). While some of us may be familiar with this famous Bible character known for his poetic and literary prowess – writing most of the book of Psalms, great feats in battle – slaying the lion and the bear as a shepherd, slaying Goliath with a sling and stone, mighty king of Israel, father of the wisest king Solomon, and so on; we’ll be looking at his life before the limelight and the lessons we can learn from that period.

Lesson 1: What are you tending?

In 1 Samuel 16; the prophet Samuel had journeyed to anoint God’s newly selected king over Israel. In simple terms, the kingmaker had chosen an heir to the throne and sent his representative to do the honors. This new guy was about to become the most important man in Israel. After a critical review of other seemingly suitable candidates, the kingmaker found them all unsuitable. The “chosen one” was away “tending” (caring for, looking after) the sheep – seems weird, why weren’t some of the older ones also doing the hard work. Anyway, I can’t speak for their family dynamics.

The question really is, “what portion of work are you responsible for” and “how well are you administering care over it”? This speaks to your role either as an employee, employer of labour, entrepreneur, parent, spouse, teenager, young adult, sibling, friend, etc. Irrespective of your age, birth order, education level, etc. there is something you are responsible for. If you claim there isn’t, how about your good ol’ self?  – Your time, financial resources, emotions, skills, potential, all that must count for something. Even if it’s just for the duration of this conversation, please think of all you have as allocations for you to care, manage and administer.

As a caregiver, are you truly providing care (nourishment, security, comfort) for your wards and are you doing this with the right attitude? We see David in 1 Samuel 17:34-36; giving record of his skill and expertise in defending his wards (the sheep). You know, he wouldn’t have had this stellar reference to present if he didn’t do the work. In tending, you build mental and emotional capacity required for excellence.

Sometimes, tending may not initially come along with fame and recognition. In David’s case, his father had almost forgotten about him till Samuel asked if he had any more sons. While it may not come as heralding news of your greatness, tending gives you the low-key opportunity to test your capacity and methods – and refine them for improved effectiveness. This way when ‘Goliath’ comes – you know exactly how to conquer because of your prior preparation and experience.

We’re told that David was the youngest in his family so when the bear and lion attacked, he could have decided to run home and call on one of his older siblings to come and defend and rescue his sheep. We don’t know how long it would have taken though, but we know he was willing and committed enough to engage with the king of the jungle and a furry mammoth bear to save his sheep.

I’m not saying to put yourself in the way of bodily harm; I’m saying, be committed. Tending is commitment. Dear employee, be committed enough to learn and grow, to attempt to resolve challenging situations, to invest the time, effort and mind-share required, to give your best and put in the work without having an excuse for each poorly delivered task, to take feedback when you’ve messed up, to seek help when you are struggling, and to strive for excellence. Don’t pass the buck – be committed enough.

Lesson 2: Are you reference-worthy?

In 1 Samuel 16:17-23; we see the same chap – David in another scenario. At this time, the incumbent King Saul required a court musician. There was a request put out by the king and the shortlisting process began almost immediately with David being sent for. I reckon the palace was the foremost place to work in that time, so I find it interesting how this recruitment process started and was concluded even without an advert being put out. Simply, the power of a reference.

Human Resource professionals will outline the innumerable benefits of filling vacancies through staff referrals; this here is a stellar example. The Bible records that “one of the young men” (note: name unknown) in King Saul’s employ, mentioned that he “had seen” the son of Jesse playing skillfully amongst other laudable traits – “valiant, man of war, prudent in speech, eloquent, attractive, whom the Lord was with”. I mean this is a superb recommendation that no one in their right mind could resist. Not only was he a skillful musician (skill fit), he came with exceptional communication skills, divine presence, military experience, and a courageous/strategic outlook. Please hire him already. Role filled, end of discussion.

The story continues with the king sending a summon to Jesse (David’s father) requesting for his son, David. I’m sure Jesse must have been like, “Yes your highness! Off you go boy!” Anyway, David (the newly anointed king) arrives at the palace to “serve” the incumbent king. The Bible says David was anointed in the presence of just his brothers so we can assume that his “kingly state” was still a family secret. You know the interesting bit here is despite being anointed, “David came to Saul and served him”. He didn’t count himself too highly to serve and he served so well that Saul became “fond of him, promoted him to armour bearer and then gave him an extended contract”. Job Security 101!

As you tend, serve, administer, manage, and so on – do you do it with excellence? Can someone speak for you – not necessarily a friend or relative? Can a previous employer, client, or colleague you’ve worked with speak to your exceptional performance? How would you be described – can you imagine the narrative that would be crafted about you?

Lastly, are you visible – are you postured in a way you can be found – either on professional networks or industry associations? I don’t know how it worked in David’s day, but today, digital presence is everything. Maximize these platforms, well; I’m learning to and in such a short time, its paying off big time. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 summarizes this aptly: “you are our letter written in people’s hearts and read by everyone”.  

That’s all for today people; continue to tend with grace and live reference worthy. Till next Sunday, have a blessed week!


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