There are a lot of things about Delhi that remind me of stories from the bible, so I’ve been thinking it would be really neat to write about them over the course of several posts.
One of the many life-lessons Michael and I faced shortly after we moved to Delhi had to do with setting up proper boundaries with our domestic staff. We learned that despite what our American instincts tell us, it’s confusing and inappropriate to “buddy up” and give our staff total freedom to do whatever they want.
No matter how much we value them and all they do for us, we had to clearly define that our “staff” were “staff” and not “friends”. At the end of the day it’s a business relationship with rules and restrictions.
They will never be adopted into our family nor can they take part in inheriting our estate or possessions. My maid cannot help herself to the food in my cabinets whenever she wants and our driver has to ask us permission before he takes the car somewhere by himself.
We don’t tell them our plans or keep them updated on everything that’s going on in our lives. And we definitely don’t share our intimate secrets or our heart’s desires with them.
(And just a side note: Our home would be considered a good place to work. These boundaries actually create a healthy and safe environment for everyone because our staff knows we’ll never take advantage of them and they honor that by not taking advantage of us. With that said, unfortunately our home does not reflect or even come close to comparing to the working conditions of most domestic help in this country.)
Michael and I were talking about these boundaries and he shared how after having our own domestic staff, he could really understand what Jesus meant when he said to his disciples at the last supper: “I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.]” (Jn 15:15)
Our staff is not abused or mistreated by any stretch of the imagination, and yet there will always be a barrier there that prevents us from fully connecting with them. But when it comes to our relationship with God, Jesus ripped that barrier in half the night before he was crucified. Everything Jesus has access to, we also have access to. We’re no longer bound by the law, but have gained total and absolute freedom in Christ.
Ever believer in Christ has been brought in from living out in the servants quarters, to sleeping inside the house. We are partakers of His very nature and inheritance, which by right should only goto Jesus as the true heir. But He says: “No, you’re not just here to serve me. You’re my brothers and my sisters and I want you written into the Will of the Father. The authority I have as a Son in my Father’s house, I give to you also. Whatever you ask for in my name will be done for you.”
What’s even more astounding is that Jesus made this all possible despite us being the laziest and most dishonest bunch of servants. We had been such awful servants in fact, that we weren’t even fit for service anymore. But what the law failed to produce in us, Jesus fulfilled.
In our experience, we have had a few of what I would call “unruly” drivers, and it was enough for us to have them fired or removed from our service. But even now, though I consider our staff to be very capable and good people, it’s still a HUGE stretch to say that I’d lay down my life to cover their debts or offenses against me, and then take it a notch further by giving them all the same rights I have as an heir!
But what a wonder when we look at the matter and see that that’s the exact thing that Jesus has done for us! And how neat is it that it’s only because we live in a place where servants are so commonplace that we have a first hand experience of that truth?