Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Servant’s Dilemma

I am here to serve the poor in Pakistan, yet I constantly find myself being served. The family I live with has two servants, the company I work for has two servants, and my friends have two servants. I can’t cook, I can’t clean, I can’t carry, I can’t even make tea for myself. Now I realize that the working wage in Pakistan is low, such that this is common, but I must admit that it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. In order to have a servant retrieve the dishes from the dinner table at 10:00pm, that individual cannot be with his or her family. Frankly, I would prefer to do my own dishes so that that person can be at home. While some people treat their servants like members of the family, others treat them as second-class citizens or worse. How easy it is to dehumanize fellow human beings. Thankfully, I was changed by my experience on the streets of New York with the poor during training and I have made sure to treat these people as best I can. Of course, I must allow them to do their jobs, but I make sure to speak to them, thank them, and of course give them a smile. I hope they realize that I appreciate them. I pray that I will never stop these small gestures for if I ever do, it will be a sad day indeed.

Joel Montgomery

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A united method said...

Receiving service properly is tougher for some people than giving service. Reading your post makes me think of John 13. It brings to mind not Jesus' attitude to wash the Disciple's feet, but instead the hesitancy they had to let him do it.

Certainly that hesitancy is an enemy to humanity? At least to the free exchange of God's love. Blessings

A united method said...

oh, and I know if anyone can remain sensitive to such service, it will be you. Praying for you!

Kalida Alexis said...

I just wanted to let you know that the link in your biography website does not take you to y-malawi. The correct website is I pray you find a way to get the drip system to the farmers. Since it's so expensive, could they buy hoses and make their own?

Joel said...

Hi Kalida:

Thanks for the catch on my website. I appreciate the heads up. Regarding the drip irrigation system, our innovation has actually brought the cost down to about a fifth of other competitive systems. I don't believe that farmers would be able to beat our cost by building their own system, but would be an interesting experiment to do. We also help farmers get microcredit to purchase the systems which will usually pay for themselves within one year. Thanks for your interest and keep reading!