July 1; When Is Being In Debt A Joyful Experience?
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful


Chapter Seven: Power; 1 July

…the borrower is slave to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7b

When Is Being In Debt A Joyful Experience?


“Make a person think he owes you something; if he is indebted to you he will appreciate you—if he owes you, he will be grateful to you.”

This is, of course, a lie. It is also how the amateur believes power is wielded. The experienced professional knows better.

For instance, a bank “gives” you a loan. You repay the loan over 36 months. You do not love your banker.

You hate his guts. Each. And. Every. Month times thirtysix. Whatever people may say, no one enjoys being in debt.

The only time Death is popular is when the last payment is made on the house. “Mortgage” has the fancy French root of “Dead.” Even a church, when the building is finally paid off, will collectively flip-off the bank and burn the mortgage.

If we hate the bank, we also hate the banker. The banker has power over us; he owns a piece of our soul. So if there is so much influence in this transaction how can we become Power Brokers for good?

General George Marshall gives us an example of how to work “debt” to the manager’s advantage. Marshall was described by Winston Churchill as the “Organizer of Victory.” Marshall’s biographer Leonard Mosley used the accolade for his book. He was the Army’s top military* leader during World War II and was the all-powerful decision maker on key leadership positions.

Every manager knows the four verbs of management: to plan, organize, lead and control. ‘To organize’ is to determine what human resources will be placed into what capacity. (“Human resources” is business-speak for “people.”)

Marshall knew how to motivate as a part of the leadership of people. He well understood the strange, fickle nature of the human condition. If I perform for you a favor, you may or may not grateful, but you would be much obliged to me like the banker making a loan. This is the root of obligation. And no one wants to be obligated to anyone. General Marshall said,

If you want a man to be for you never let him feel he is dependent on you. Because he is not going to like you at all. If you really want to have the guy be for you, find some way to make him feel you are in some way dependent on him.

Even though Marshall controlled the careers and promotions of thousands of senior officers, he was careful to make sure that the appreciation flowed from the top down.

(Researchers have mixed results on a “Little Black Book” where Marshall kept track of the men he was grooming for promotion. One can only imagine the terror that even the rumored existence of such a record would create.)

‘Debt Management’ is counter-intuitive. People will love you when they do things for you. Not for what they get from you. Odd. So how does the novice manager practice the art of getting favors done for them—so that the received generosity will be appreciated?

The professional will look for anything—anything, however microscopic to thank someone for. The pro is always grateful and expresses the indebtedness. It would also have the added benefit of being true. Find and acknowledge the good that another has done for you—even if inadvertent—and express appreciation.

The next time anyone does the slightest kindness, the slightest head fake of civility, thank them!

In another more refined generation men and women of letters would close a correspondence with something like, “Your Obedient Servant…” It was the duty of nobility to be nice and tolerant. Noblese Oblige. Today the thoughtful manager might close every email and every letter with one of the following:

I owe you,

We remain in your debt,

I am much obliged,

This is debt accumulation and appreciation that makes everyone feel better.

…the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7b


*Today it is customary to greet anyone who served in uniform with the salutation, “Thank you for your service…”


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