“As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

Matthew 10-12-13

TODAY’S LOSSES ARE CHEAPER THAN TOMORROWS

I remember sitting at a conference room table with Bob Macaleer, a top banker for a large Boston bank, and the owner of a small struggling business. The owner had broken his covenant with the bank and was now looking for more money. As a very young financial advisor for the struggling company I was very unsure where this meeting would end up. The company had failed to hit its sales plans for a number of months and was now out of cash. In the previous months it had avoided letting the bank know it was struggling. It viewed the bank as an adversary, even though it had lent them money in good faith. Now the business had only place to look for new cash, the bank.

The owner of the company sitting with his attorney made a bold statement, “If you don’t lend me more money I will file for bankruptcy and you will get little in return.” I had heard about this being the strategy before I went into the meeting and had my doubts. But I was young and unsure of my footing. While I personally wouldn’t lend the company more money, I was assured that this tactic would work by both the owner and attorney.

It didn’t! The banker said to the owner and the attorney, “Today’s losses are cheaper than tomorrow’s. I don’t use good money to chase bad.” The company did file bankruptcy and the bank did get pennies on the dollar. But the bank had spared itself future losses. I was fortunate to hear and see this lesson very early in my career. A lesson I would remember many times throughout my career and pass on to those younger than me to learn.

Jesus passes on a similar lesson to the twelve apostles to prepare them for their journey of creating believers throughout Judea. A simple message that their time and the gifts of God were valuable. A simple reminder to examine if what they were giving would be properly accepted. A reminder to not spend time where they weren’t wanted. A reminder that their gifts from God were valuable and to not get caught up trying to convince the unconvinceables. Seems a little harsh from Jesus’ point of view, but considering the sacredness of God’s gifts, wise words.

Like the banker, we have limited resources and must be wise with how we parcel them out. Our focus should be on making a positive impact with all our resources. Whether it be money, our time and our energy. There were other places for the bank to lend money, growing businesses that respected the bank. For Jesus, he was searching for helpers that valued God and treated the words of God with a sacred intent. For us it is the same.

Be wary of those who gossip. Be wary of those who mislead. Watch carefully for those who only like us for our money. We should stay strong to avoid being liked at the expense of morality. Avoid going along to get along. Our lives and resources are precious and so is the word of God. We should be careful with whom we become partners.

Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman

Parting Thoughts
  • Who are the most important people in our lives and why?
  • Do we spend enough time with the people we need to?
  • How do we avoid getting trapped in tough situations?
  • How should we create our daily to do list?

Photo by Cole Keister

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