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Money Is A Tool

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

One day, your CEO decides to take an extended vacation. (Probably in Costa Rica, it’s wonderful.)

So, she calls a meeting with you and her other top executives. She plans to be gone for a long time, and she gives you no idea of when she’ll return. She explains that you are to run the operations and keep the business profitable by using the resources she’s now entrusting to you to grow the franchise.

She explains, “I’m giving each of you more than enough money to run the business and to grow its profits while I’m gone. You know our business strategy; you know the vision and values of the company; you know the market share and what strategies have worked in the past. But it will be up to you to decide what to do with the resources. You’ve seen how I’ve run this company over the years,” she says, “so do what you’ve watched me do. Just do your best until I return.”

With that, she distributes briefcases full of cash to you and her other top brass— enough cash in each briefcase to equal about twenty years of your current salary. Now, because each of you in the room earns a different wage, your briefcases contain different amounts of cash, but the multiple remains the same: about 20 times your annual earnings.

So, think about your annual income and multiply that by 20. What is it for you? $1 million? $2.5 million? $20 Million? In this story, we’re talking about big money.

The CEO’s instructions are not specific, but she reminds you that she’ll be back someday. …She’s not giving you this cash; she’s simply asking you to manage it wisely while she’s away.

Then, just like that, she walks out the door— and there you are, with this briefcase sitting in your lap. You can feel the weight of that briefcase. The gravity of the CEO’s expectations. The burden that comes from knowing that she actually believes in you— actually believes in your abilities, your commitment to the mission and your trustworthiness.


You may recognize this as the story that Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 25, the Parable of the Talents.

I was taught that compassion was the currency that filled the briefcases, and that currency is exchanged whenever people take care of each other, genuinely trust and respect one another, willingly share with and serve one another, freely forgive one another, and even bravely love their enemies. Compassion is the currency that heals every social division and rules every relationship.

And your religion doesn’t really matter; for most of us, we recognize that a time is coming when The CEO will return and will ask us, “What did you do with the treasure I left you? Did you sit on it? Did you bury it? …Or did you invest it, risk it and multiply it?”


George Bernard Shaw wrote about this kind of life:

Especially at this time of year, we here at RG are enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and to enable your briefcases. We thank you for your patronage, readership and thoughtfulness, and we wish you a very, very happy Thanksgiving.

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