Are we an Atlanta recruiting firm or an oxen rental company?
Whether you have ever realized it or not, the Bible is full of statements and stories that apply to work and business. I regularly read Scripture with an eye for these revelations and try to relate them meaningfully to our context. I hope you’ll consider this wisdom on business below.
A peculiar verse of instruction is written in the Old Testament passage of Deuteronomy 25:4: “Don’t muzzle the ox while it is threshing the grain.”
As an ox would thresh, or press wheat into grain for the farmer to sell in the marketplace, it is conceivable to believe the animal would get hungry and desire to snack on the very grain it was threshing. A muzzle keeps an ox from being able to eat the grain, the fruit of its labor.
It’s a peculiar admonition, because it was common sense. An ox was an asset, an economic engine for farmers able to afford one. Allowing the ox to eat some of the grain during its threshing would mean less grain is produced and some time is spent waiting for the ox to finish chewing, but the advantages of an ox that is cared for and maintains its strength far outweighs any losses.
Based on the surrounding context, the only way this passage makes sense is if we consider a farmer was borrowing or renting a neighbor’s ox to thresh out his own grain. This was a far more common practice because every family could not afford an ox. In this case, a farmer who rents an ox from his neighbor may be tempted to keep the ox from eating the farmer’s grain. The farmer has no immediate concern for the well-being of the ox, as long as there is one available whenever he need it to thresh out his grain. In effect, he feels no responsibility to care for the ox, because he does not own it.
It’s very similar to the way we treat rental cars. It’s no secret rental cars wear out quicker than cars owned by an individual. A rental car is not our property, so driving it hard and getting air on those speed bumps is part of the fun. As long as we avoid any additional charges, we turn the rental back in and the worn out shocks and smoking brake pads are someone else’s responsibility.
Is it beginning to make sense now? The author’s instruction compels the farmer renting ox from a neighbor to care for the ox as if it was his own.
So what does this have to do with your business? I believe it applies to the way we treat our employees. If you see them merely as rented oxen, you will create a toxic work environment where everyone feels micromanaged, burdened by the work load and frazzled by the constant stress placed upon them.
However, when we choose to view our staff as creative individuals, made in the image of God, with limitless potential to solve problems and produce excellent results, it changes the way we treat them.
For your business, maybe it means giving shares of company stock. Perhaps it simply means fostering a more autonomous culture where your team feels the freedom to set their own hours as long as the work is completed with excellence. In the food service business it means a free meal when you work a shift. I’ll let you apply it to your own situation, but I encourage you to consider this concept.
How are you caring for your employees and how do you allow them to take part in the fruit of their labor?
As a staffing and job recruiting firm, there is nothing we love more than placing candidates in jobs where we know they cared for as the creative and gifted individuals they are. In fact, open jobs with more flexibility on work schedule and strong benefits packages are filled much quicker and with better qualified candidates than those lacking this perspective.
Let us know how you care for your staff or ideas you plan to implement as a result of this post!
Thanks for selecting us as your Atlanta recruiting firm. We appreciate your business!