“She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls.” Proverbs 31:15

I used to read those verses in Proverbs 31 about the serving girls and feel envious. Oh, fortunate woman from long ago!

Then, I got acquainted with some missionaries who lived in extreme conditions and hired “help” to do basic household tasks like bringing water to the house, hand-washing some of the clothes as well as doing other necessary jobs. Their insight into “servants” was enlightening.

One, servants have to be trained and that can take awhile (sometimes months). Clothes and possessions may be ruined while the hired help learns to use the soap or implements required of them. Honestly, the stories I heard took all the glamour out of that Proverbs 31 passage.

My missionary friends pointed out the obvious to me;I didn’t have to hire help for many basic things because I already had servants! I had washing machines and dryers (unfortunately I don’t have an automatic folder and “putter-awayer” but I do have some semi-automatic ones…when I can get them to come do it;-). Instead of longing for a full-time maid, I gained a new appreciation for the time and labor saving devices I often take for granted. Here are some of my favorite “servants”.

My rice cooker! I can’t tell you how many pots of rice I have burned over the years. I remember the surprised look on the face of a visiting Japanese student when I asked her how she cooked her rice. In a rice cooker, of course!(she replied).

Other large family moms came up with the bright idea of using it for morning oatmeal or muesli. I love it! I don’t even have to measure perfectly. I just put the grain and water in and push the “cook” button…when it has cooked, it switches itself to “warm”. No standing, stirring or checking!

My crockpot. My favorite way to use it? Put a large frozen roast in, pour half a cup of white wine over, salt and pepper and garlic.

Turn on low and cook for 12 hours until the meat is falling apart tender. That’s it! This works best on cheap cuts of beef. The only hard part about this recipe is remembering to put the roast in 12 hours before you eat.

Although my home is full of other servants such as my washer and dryer, vacuum cleaner and, yes, that marvelous servant, my computer, I will share just one more with you.

I am reminded of the young bride who showed her elderly grandmother around her new home, opening cupboards and showing off the new appliances. Finally, the young woman asked, “Grandma, if you could choose one luxury to have in your home, what would you choose?” The old woman thought for a moment and said, “I think I’d choose running water every time.”