Something struck me as odd when I was reading my Bible the other day. I was reading that Moses was “faithful in all his [God’s] house” and “faithful in all his house as a servant”. And it seemed a bit funny. I mean, the passage is talking about how important Moses was. He doesn’t seem to fit the image of a domestic servant. One thinks of Nestor the butler, coming in with a tray of whiskey, or listening at the door while pretending to flick around with a feather duster.
And then it struck me that, before the industrial revolution, a person’s or a family’s home used to be the powerhouse of their work and vision in the world. Apart from the odd clerk who ‘went to the office’, nearly everyone lived and worked on the same premises, from farm labourers who lived on the farm and small tradesmen who lived ‘over the shop’, to kings and queens who carried out affairs of state from their very bedrooms. In that context, Moses was faithful as a steward in God’s house, and Jesus is faithful “as a Son” who does not lie on the couch with a soft drink, but carries on the great work of building the Kingdom.
Today, with nearly everyone’s work removed from the domestic context, home has become, at best, a retreat from the world. For many families it is little more than a bus stop or a hotel. With increasing government interference in people’s private lives, it can be a place of frustration, even of shame and defeat. No wonder so many women are ashamed to admit that they are ‘just at home with the baby’.
So I think it’s tremendously exciting that many more families today, especially home educating families, are finding ways to bring their work back into the home. Once more the home can become the powerhouse for a family’s vision. Then no-one will need to be ashamed of ‘just staying at home’ – there won’t be any ‘just’ about it. Of course, it isn’t possible for everyone. But we can make our home the centre of many projects, relationships and opportunities. We can certainly have no-one better to look to for example than God, who continues to rule the universe from his glorious house.