Pandemic Essentials: Are You Essential? Am I Essential? Are We All Essential?

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to your daily vocabulary the terms “essential” and “non-essential.” The words are not unfamiliar, but are now used in a much different way. These words now describe you and me. It feels as if we have entered a new state of conflict in our society where we classify each other, pitting the essential against the non-essential. Those who do have critical jobs can keep working while those whose jobs are less important are to stay home, and someone decided your category without your input.

Who is Essential? I believe we have realized that we all rely on each other and that our world doesn’t properly function unless we are all doing life together. While I agree that the nurses and doctors have been on the front-line and essential to taking care of the sick, but who takes care of them? Who cuts their hair, how do they get their clothes, and how do they get sustenance? Who takes care of their kids, where do they go to rest, and where do they go to worship? The list could go on and on. Throughout this pandemic, I have thought about the people I come in contact with daily and the functions that they perform in my life and how I have taken them for granted. All people are essential.

Who Decides? God created us to live in harmony with one another, not isolated and quarantined. The apostle Paul talks about spiritual gifts in a similar manner in 1 Corinthians 12:14-22.

For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…

Why Are You Essential? You are dependent upon other people to help you through life, and others are dependent upon you. God created you for a specific purpose and with particular gifts and talents. If one of us is unable to develop and use our gift or our talent, then our society may suffer. While society will continue to function, it will not function optimally, and we may have difficulties to overcome as a result.

Most of us can relate to the delayed haircut over the last couple of months. I know my hair was longer than it has been in decades. My wife tried to trim around my ears, but it just wasn’t the same as the haircut I get from my barber. I rely on him to keep my hair neat and trim. And it felt so good to get that haircut finally.

If you stop and think, there are many indispensable people in your life that you probably consider essential. The pandemic has brought to light for me in a more real way, that all people are essential. Not only in a way that brings harmony and function to our world but also in a renewed sense that God has created us all unique and for specific purposes. I challenge you to continue to fulfill your purpose and see others in that same light as we are all essential.

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