Summary: A man climbing the business ladder becomes deeply concerned at the ethics of the company he works for.
Style: Dramatic.     Duration: 12min
Scripture: Matthew 25:14 - 30
Actors: 1M



 My Mom used to repeat an old adage, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned.’ She would say that when she felt, quite wisely, that I was wasting my money on stupid things. Did your Mom ever say that to you? Give credit to our elders, friends. They knew the ways of the world. To a point.

 My uncle used to worry about money all the time. For him there could never be enough of it. he was the first one I knew that was obsessed with making more. And more. And more.


Eventually, when I got older, I had to make my own way in the world. Off to face the real world of hard knocks.

 I got a job working for a man who owned a factory. He must have met my uncle. Always on the lookout for a way to make more money. He hired me to clean up after hours. Night shift. Not that that bothered me. I was going to University at the time, and the days were free to study. I was taking economics at the time. And political studies. I don’t think he knew or cared that I was studying. It didn’t matter as long as I did my job.

 I was good at work. Trustworthy. No complaints from anyone. But I found I was living in two worlds. The factory seemed to symbolize everything that was wrong with the world. They were manufacturing things that nobody needed, inflating prices, spewing garbage into the atmosphere and the rivers. I came to feel hostile to the place, and distrustful of my employer. On those occasions when I would approach him to talk about ethics in business, he brushed me off and told me to mind my own business.

 At school it was different. I got more and more interested in global economics, and understood at a level I had never had before just how the planet, and the poor, were being exploited. I discovered how corporations were running the economies of impoverished countries, and governments were expropriating the lands of their own people and giving it to big businesses.

 The businesses in turn took enormous profits out of the country, impoverishing the people even more. Some of them even had their own armies to protect their holdings. And to make things worse, the feelings around the world were that this was good. Free enterprise would save the world.

 I travelled on a vacation during that time to Honduras and saw it for myself. The sweat shops, where people who had been forced off their lands were working for pennies a day to manufacture goods that I bought at the store down the street for many times their value. I kept thinking, this would be the kind of place my boss would like to get his hands on.

 A bible passage I had read once kept ringing like a bell in my head. It described my boss, and his attitude towards his business to a ‘t’. “A harsh man, reaping where he did not sow, and gathering where he did not scatter seed.” It was like a horn blasting at me.

 When I finished my studies, I had a choice to make. A hard choice. To stay with the company, or to go somewhere else. I talked it over with my friend, who shared my conscience. She suggested I hang in there. Try to make changes from the inside. “Bloom where you are planted.” Make a difference.

 I had done well in school, and taken a couple of courses in management. The boss promoted me. I worked in personnel for a time, supporting the workers, advocating for them with the upper management when I felt they were getting a raw deal.

I went to share holders meetings, and found that there were some, to my delight and surprise, who shared my feelings about how the business should be run, and my perceptions of the state of the global marketplace. Obviously, I was not alone. Staying made sense. I felt I could make a difference.

 Then a disturbing thing happened. I heard through the rumour mill that the company was going to buy out a sweat shop in a developing country. I checked with a friend in the finance department. It was true. And I was outraged. But I also felt too fearful to approach the owner of the factory.

 The next day, the boss called three of us middle-managers into his office. He said he was going away for a time on business. He didn’t know when he would be back. And we were in charge. I knew where he was going. I felt sick.

 Tony was to be responsible for supplies and equipment. Joanne would have trust of manufacturing. And I was to hold the investment portfolio. Entrusted with all the money. I was flabbergasted, to say the least. Nothing could have prepared me for this!

 Tony was jumping with joy when we left the room. Joanne was just as excited, and over a drink they shared their plans for making good on the trust he had given them. I was strangely silent, however. Not that I didn’t know about investing money, but plagued with this feeling of apprehension.

 The next day the boss was gone and we went to work. The others wringing their hands in glee and me wringing my heart in fear. I spent the day familiarizing myself with the portfolio and then went home.

 That night my dreams were hard. I kept being visited by the children whose mothers would be working for the company for what were little more than slave wages and unsafe working conditions. I got up in the middle of the night and looked at the stock market pages, as if God would offer me some words of wisdom there.

 And, I guess God did. The next day I knew what I would do. My mind was clear and unafraid. I started taking some of the profits from the company and giving them away. To a soup kitchen, the Red Cross, the children’s hospital, to a half dozen development agencies. I spent it like it was going out of style. With a clear conscience.

 You probably know the outcome. Tony and Joanne had done their jobs well. Costs had been cut. Manufacturing streamlined. Profits were up considerably. They got huge salary increases.

 As for me, I’m out of work. With a lawsuit over my head. My legal aid lawyer is gnashing his teeth. I won’t even try to tell you what the boss said to me. But I did make a speech, for what it was worth. In front of the other workers. Some of them even applauded.

 Right now, I am a happy man. I am sleeping better. My conscience is clear. I’m reading my Bible again. And you know something? God did speak to me in my dream. God does put down the mighty from their thrones, and lifts the weak out of dust. God does seek justice for the poor. You can look it up.


 Copyright Jim Hatherly

This play is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-Alike license. Some rights are reserved. For the full license visit visit A donation of equivalent to $10.00 Cdn. to the United Church of Canada Mission and Service Fund for use of this work is suggested. Please visit