There was once a good master who owned a field. This master had two servants: a man and his wife. The master’s job was to rule; him being the master and all. And the good master naturally desired many good crops. The job of the man was to produce crops for his master. The job of the wife was to help her husband in his job.
One day the master told his servants that for every 20 acres plowed they’d be given a better tool for the job. This would help the servants in both of their roles. However, because the servants will receive better tools, their responsibility will also increase.
Now, imagine if that servant was not a good servant. Imagine if he were lazy and neglectful of his role and duties. He would not receive any better tools per the master’s conditions. But what if his wife, being a good wife, decided to plow the fields in her husband’s place. After all, her role is to assist in her husband’s role, not necessarily to help her husband in his laziness and share in his neglect. The good master observes the work the woman is doing and gives her a better tool for the work. A better tool to be used for the master’s fields. Because the man is stronger and better suited for the brunt of the work, the work is more difficult and trying on the wife.
Now some considerations.
This sort of conditional compensation instills gratitude, humility, and faithfulness. Conditionality works against entitlement and serves as a constant reminder that better tools are not a right but rather a gift: a gift that brings about more responsibility and more duties.
Next, we would certainly say that the source of the potential tools is the master. But, in a less technical and direct way, it would also be accurate to say that the tool came from the plowing of the fields. In other words, the tool is contingent upon the labor of the servants while the ultimate source of the tool remains the master.
Further, would we say that it was fair, just, logical, and helpful for the wife to receive the tool instead of the husband? The role of caring for the field is rightly the man’s, while the role of the wife is to help in that task, so shouldn’t the tools for that task go to the man? No. Not necessarily.
That is because the task of the wife is to help her husband in his task. It is not to help her husband, period. Full stop. Her role is primarily for the field just as is the man’s, but it is most proper and effective when she is helping the man in this task. Because the man, naturally, is stronger and better suited to work in the field.
It could be accurately said that when those tools do not go to the man, then something terribly wrong has happened. Something has been fouled up. Because the tools should go to the man. Because it is the man’s job primarily and firstly.
But it is vital to grasp that the point is that the man servant is not the point.
If the good master decided to reward laziness and neglect with better tools, then those tools would only collect rust while laying against some wall. Consider, if you will, if the servant is just downright wicked and decided to use those better tools to destroy his master’s crops and property. Or, master forbid, harm his wife. Not to mention that better tools bring more responsibility. This compounds the harm. This compounds the harm and neglect being done to the master’s work. But the man retains his precious tools.
Tools have a purpose. They’re not given out to be hung on a wall like a relic or to be used contra their purpose. They are not cheap plastic trophies to be shown off and boasted of and never used. They’re not to be left in a overgrown field to rust. They’re for doing something. They’re for plowing. They’re for sowing and reaping. A good master will provide his tools to the servant that is doing the work. A bad, and frankly a stupid master, will provide tools to a worthless and/or wicked servant. Tools do not exist for the man, but rather the job. Beware of the sort of man that thinks he would still receive all the tools of the master regardless if he has fulfilled his duties.
The point is the work, because the master is the master and his work is primary. It is not primary that it was work firstly delegated to the man. The work firstly being given to the man is important. That should not be ignored. After all, that delegation was from the master. But the purpose of that delegation wasn’t to build up the self-esteem of the man. It was to produce crops.
The role of the man is important.
The role of the wife is important.
But what is first in the eyes of the master is his field.