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To the honour of domestic servants

Your Family Matters with PASTOR CHANDA
FRIDAY, November 25, 2016: Today my mind has been absorbed with the role that servants in the home play in the child upbringing process. I do not think that they are appreciated as much as they ought to. So, here is one to the honour of domestic servants!
My earliest childhood memories are intricately tied up with the servant that my parents had for the many years that I was a child. We used to call him “Ba Lazalo”. He was not married and lived in what we used to call “the servant’s quarters” at our home.
He was hardworking. My mom and dad were both professionals with very demanding jobs and so we were left in his hands for the best part of the day. He ensured we were bathed and clothed, well fed and safe, throughout the day until mom and dad returned from work.
He had one finger that was half cut off and used to use its remaining stump to spank us when we misbehaved.
I will never forget that because its hardened tip was very painful. You did not want to mess around with him when he waved that finger in your face!
When mom died, I was only 9 years old. Mom’s immediate elder sister fostered us through our early teenage years.
My greatest disappointment upon returning to dad’s home was to find “Ba Lazalo” gone. It really broke my heart. He was my childhood hero.
We have tried to do the same for our kids. We have maintained the same maid in our home for as long as our children have been alive, and that is well over 20 years. She is “part of the furniture”. I am sure they will remember her for the rest of their lives.
Most of them have since grown up and left home but it is not unusual to hear our maid on the phone chatting with one of them.
And when they come visiting, if she is not working, they go to her “quarters” for hours, chatting with her. They have bonded with her for life.
In the Bible, there are some passages that teach about how husbands and wives should relate and also about how parents and children should relate. Those same passages also teach about how masters and servants should relate. These are domestic servants.
In other words, the Bible recognises the important role that household servants play in the equation of looking after the domestic environment. We do not appreciate this enough, and neither do the servants themselves.
There is need to see what the Bible says about this.
For instance, Ephesians 5:5–8 says, “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
It goes on to say, “…rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.” God wants domestic servants to take their work seriously.
Sadly, not all stories about household servants are like this. Many servants get fired in their first year of work.
This is usually due to theft or laziness or incompetence. Sometimes servants end up having affairs with their employers until they are found out and are fired.
The high turnover of servants in the home is very disruptive to children because by nature it takes them time to be totally at ease with strangers.
They are outraged at the thought that one of their parents was having an affair with their servant. It is totally unthinkable.
Sometimes, the problem is with the very paltry salaries they get. So, their handbags haul foodstuffs home when they knock off in order to survive. They have no trade unions and so cannot negotiate for better salaries. In the end, they either steal or leave. That is not good.
To the employers, the Bible says, “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” God wants those of us who have household servants to be fair with them. For the sake of our children, let us pay them well!
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