30
Mar
20

Am I Essential?

Jigsaw puzzle piecesOn March 25, the governor of Colorado issued an official, legally binding, mandatory, “Stay at Home” order to try and help stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease that is now ravaging the country.

As retired persons, this order did not really require much of a change for Joan and me. “Stay at home” is a pretty accurate description of our daily routine anyway.

For others I know, this order represented a tsunami of upheaval. Schools have been closed. Jobs and income have been cut off. Panic and uncertainty about the future abound.

In reading over the text of the Governor Polis’ March 25 statement, one phrase stuck out to me in particular. It was the phrase that said, “Unless you work for a critical business or are doing an essential activity, you should stay home.”

The governor’s office did not follow that statement with detailed guidance that might help citizens know if their business is indeed “critical” or if their activity is “essential.”

A couple of days after the “Stay at Home” order, for example, a great debate ensued about whether gun stores could be legitimately classified as “essential businesses.” For people on both sides of the discussion, it was crystal clear that the verdict should fall their way.

Thinking back over my somewhat checkered work history, I seem to remember various bosses working to assure me that the function I was performing was both “essential” and “critical” to the health and well-being of the operation. “Yes, Russell… I know that screwing those caps on those bottles SEEMS like dull and pointless work to you, but let me assure you – it isn’t. That mindless work you are doing is ESSENTIAL to our company’s mission. And besides, we are paying you to do it, so there’s that…”

Does anyone really want to think of their work as uncritical or non-essential? According to the article that has received the most requests for reprinting in its nearly 100-year history, the Harvard Business Review tells us that the #1 motivator of people in their work is a “… sense of significance.” In other words, people seek some assurance that their work actually matters somehow to someone.

My sister-in-law works in a toy store in the Portland, OR area. Some of you might be tempted to say, “Who needs toys in the middle of a pandemic? Surely that is a non-essential business.” But they are selling – by phone and web orders only – a TON of puzzles for quarantined Oregonians desperately in need of a diversion from the virus.

The truth is, each of us is essential. Each of us matters. No matter what kind of work we do – or don’t do – we are each creatures of infinite value. That is why the loss – or the discounting – of any one of us is so cosmically tragic. The great Puzzle of Life is diminished when any piece is lost.

That value I speak of is not conferred upon us by our job descriptions, our family ties, our education levels, our special skills, our social connections, or our net worth. Your significance was conferred on you at birth by the One who first breathed the breath of life into your nostrils.

Seeking to assure his first-century audience on this same subject, Jesus said to them, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26, NRSV).

I don’t think there was a Coronavirus outbreak happening when he said this, but Jesus looked deeply and saw the unrest in his listeners’ hearts. He knew that the poor, Jewish peasants of 34 A.D. Israel needed the same kind of assurance that we middle-class 2020 Americans are seeking; the assurance that our lives really do count for something.

And so even if you work today in a business that has been stamped with the scarlet letter “N” (for non-essential), take heart…

You matter where it matters most.

Abundant blessings to you and yours;


6 Responses to “Am I Essential?”


  1. 1 conniechristopher72
    March 30, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    Hi I was wondering if I could share this with our congrregation? Very good Thanks

    On Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 1:08 PM Russellings of the Spirit wrote:

    > revruss1220 posted: “On March 25, the governor of Colorado issued an > official, legally binding, mandatory, “Stay at Home” order to try and help > stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease that is now ravaging the country. > As retired persons, this order did not really require muc” >

  2. 3 Warren Molton
    April 1, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Answer to yor question:YES.

    Sinmce mj stroke, it is hard to write because my right hand figers refiuse to find the right fingers. Sp if I try, it takes as long to unwrite as to write, as you cam see. Right?

  3. April 5, 2020 at 2:02 am

    The passage you cited is always a source of comfort to me. And I agree with you that our value is not something that anyone can give or take away because our God considers each of us important enough for HIm to die for.

  4. 6 Warren Molton
    April 10, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    From: genedownard [mailto:genedownard@ymail.com] Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2020 8:50 PM To: Warren Molton Subject: FW: [CBTS-EX-PATS] May you enjoy laugh.

    Did you get this from Doyle?

    Sent from my Galaxy Tab A


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