Return of the Servant
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It is amazing how many things we eat and drink, without a second thought. A glass of wine, a piece of cake, a pill or elixir for those peculiar aches and pains. We do so with such great ease because we expect the servants who prepare them to know the proper recipes and mixtures that would otherwise be harmful, and we trust these faithful servants to do us “as the physicians say,” no harm.
Yes, there are laws to protect us, but do they really? Or are they just hopeful deterrants disuading already honest agents: Meaningless aftermeasures comforting our mourners but not saving our lives. No, I think that if we have any safety, it is in the integrity of those servants of whom we expect so much and in whom we place such great trust. And isn’t that what service is after all -- anticipating, understanding and exceeding the expectations of those you serve and, above all else, establishing and never violating trust.
I’m making Storm Cloud Tea. It’s an aromatic, soothing brew, with a full bodied flavor that embraces even the most critical palate. If not mixed properly, it causes a violent reaction that is not nearly as bad as it appears. Hence the name. But that knowledge, like most of our laws, doesn’t ease the violence. It just gives some comfort to those watching the victim endure it.
We discovered the tea, quite by accident, in our travels with my master Abram, and it has since been a powerful weapon in the hand of any servant against a less than pleasant master. Masters make many laws, but they seldom make tea. The cup that I prepare now is for my new master, Chedorlaomer. Not a pleasant man, but a great lover of tea. I’m not so sure he trusts me yet, but he has every confidence in his laws.
I have been here for several months now, by no choice of my own. I was captured in the night when a confederation of kings stormed my lord Lot’s camp. Lot is my master Abrams nephew and it is he that I am most concerned with at this moment. If Abram knew where we were and what misfortune had befallen us, surely our condition would improve greatly. As for our current condition, I refer you to my lord Lot. He talks there with the maidservants drawing water. They were here when we arrived, cackling and ogling like so many hens. Now my master’s nephew labors on the walls of the well, reduced to not much more than a servant himself -- in his tasks and apparently in his tastes.
‘I am no man’s servant. I reign along side my father’s brother, Abram -- father of many nations. We were separated because of our great wealth and when he hears what has happened he will rescue me and my servants and rid us of our oppressor.’ “Father of many nations? What name is that for a man? Surely he will prefer his own sons to the son of his brother?” ‘He has no son yet. This is the name that his God has given him and we travel to seek his full inheritance and the promise of his first born.’ “You don’t appear to be anyone’s master. Perhaps this uncle is a figment of your, heat weary, imagination. And you are nothing more than a servant, like me. You work the wall like all the others and you had better do so quietly lest you provoke the wrath of our true masters.”
Servants have the peculiar privilege of seeing and hearing far more than at times we wish we did. Often, the most powerful people confide in us, because they have to. We witness their secrets and indiscretions. We observe their weaknesses and often undergird them. We are called upon to enable and facilitate some odd and often, unwholesome desires. I am thoroughly convinced that some who serve are not servants at all and many who rule are not rightful masters. I am glad I know that what we see now will not always be and where we are now is not forever. This truth I learned from my master Abram -- A rightful ruler with a true servant’s heart.
Do I believe in the divine right of Kings? I believe I do. I also believe in the divine right of servants. For surely promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He puts down one, and sets up another. Every man is at once a master and a servant, lest he, himself, be God. His title is merely a product of his choices as you shall see in this tale I tell. But whether master or servant, the wise man never confuses position with value, title with calling, or the business of the day with the work he is called to do.
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