Welcome to the Table: Making Space for the Master or the Maid
I loved living in the States; however, when my husband and I felt the Lord leading us to return to India, I began looking forward to running medical clinics, evangelism outreaches, and continuing to raise my three children. And, not gonna lie–I also looked forward to hiring a maid.
Whether you high-five your maid or raise a disdained eyebrow at the notion, this type of service is common in India and is thread throughout the biblical narrative. For example, Rebekah, had many maids. One of Rebekah’s attendants, Deborah, went with her to Isaac’s home when they married. Deborah had taken care of Rebekah from birth and followed her until she passed away. When Deborah died, an oak tree was designated in her honor. No doubt Rebekah was grateful for her service, her company, and her loyal dedication (Gen 35:8).
Although a maid is considered a part of the lower caste in our culture, as a Christian, I hold the belief that a maid is created in God’s image just as much as any CEO. Both have inherent value. At the same time, I know that many people in my culture perceive me as part of the lower caste, less patriotic, and less valuable just because I am a Christian. Christianity is commonly considered a western religion fit only for lower class people, even though my father was a actually a high caste Hindu before he became a follower of Christ.
Knowing just a hint of what it feels like to be perceived as less, I was not looking to hire some subservient domestic help to take advantage of her; rather, I was looking for a trust-worthy woman to help me because I need her. So, once I arrived in India, I labored over who to hire because this woman would be in my home and integral to my life. I had to trust her with access to my home and family. (Arnold Schwarzenegger maids need not apply.)
Once I selected her, we began to talk. I shared with her, and as she shared with me, I soon realized that her life was extremely difficult and few people had ever thanked her for her work. In fact, most home owners gave her more work than what she had agreed to and paid her less. This hurts my heart and challenges me to ask myself and you:
Are we grateful for those who serve us?
Do we see them as less valuable than those we invite to the table?
How do we treat them?
We may not be able to plant an oak tree or name a building in someone’s honor, but as followers of Christ, we can honor those who serve us with an attitude of gratitude, respectful encouragement and maybe even an invitation to sit at our table or our heavenly Father’s Eternal Table.
Whether you are the “master or the maid,” Paul reminds us:
“Let your love be unbiased, … devoted, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord …” (Ro 12:9-11). Remember that even Jesus, the Son of Man “did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Because of this, we are also called to “do nothing from self-ambition or empty conceit, but in humility regard others as more significant than ourselves” (Phil 2:3).
Happy Thanksgiving from India to both the Masters and the Maids!
By Rani Yangad with Shabby Chic Ministries
Whether you are the CEO or the bus boy clearing tables, are you serving with Christ’s humility?
Read up on the Kingdom kind of kindness: Luke 6:35.
Who in your life might you be unwittingly or knowingly overlooking? Ask God to show you.
Father, help us consider others as more important than ourselves. Help us see, love, and serve others unbiasedly … not so that we can be politically correct, but so that we can reflect Your Kingdom here on Earth, Jesus.