It’s the weekend which is easy to forget in our current crisis. You see for many of us we split our week into two parts, the work week and the weekend. As I have mentioned in previous blogs there are several blessings that have come out of this pandemic, like the reminder that my security is not in the shifting sands of stuff but in my Savior and the discovery that my hurried heart is the result of sinking my heart beat to the pace of the world instead of the peace of Jesus. But I wonder if the greatest lesson as I have read the headlines and resulting Facebook posts about non-essential workers is still to be learned. A lesson we need to pay attention to because school is still in session even if it is physically closed. We should never stop learning and if we don’t learn this lesson then humanity is doomed to repeat the same mistakes. What will destroy the world is not tied to our economy but to our empathy. Many of us non-essential workers have been ordered to stay home, our work what consumes most of our day has changed. As a result, many are asking do we need sport stars or musicians, yet the same could be asked of teachers they are also part of the non-essential workers now! But in my heart, I know the answer to that, without a doubt we need teachers, for me personally they have forever shaped my life. You see I am dyslexic and while my dyslectic Mom in her day was diagnosed by the educational community as stupid, I had a teacher who believed in me and regularly told me that he did. Thank you, Mr. Ashine for believing in me, your short influence in my life before you were tragically killed forever changed the course of my life. I went on to do all the things you said I could that everyone else said I couldn’t. My kids were raised by a confident and caring father instead of an angry beat up and bitter one. So yes, I believe we need teachers, but I also believe we need everyone. Right now, our essential worth is being based on a virus, as a result some are deemed more critical than others. But when the virus passes, and it will, we will need teachers and lawyers, butchers and bus drivers. When this is over, we will relish that music concert or sporting event, we need entertainment as much as we need education and economics. The tough lesson we can’t seem to learn is this, that we need each other. Why is this lesson so hard for humanity to learn? That our value and worth is not based in our work and what we do but in God’s Word and what He says about us. Do the disabled or the retired who no longer work not have worth? In Ephesians 1:4-5 God says this, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” I bring my Creator great pleasure not because of what I do but because of what He has done. Before the foundation of the world, before I was born, before I could contribute a single thing, God’s Word spoke worth over me. So why have we tied our worth to our work? Because a paycheck seems more tangible than God’s personal proclamation about me. I can deposit a paycheck, I can cash and spend a paycheck, I can buy food and shelter with my paycheck. But if I am not careful my paycheck may become the source of my worth more than God’s Word. And now that our paychecks are threatened so is our worth. For many of us our worth has become more tied to our work than what God’s Word says about us. So now that us non-essential workers are side lined do, we have any worth? Well we need to talk about that paycheck. How we value people’s contribution is often seen it what we pay them. Look at what we pay a teacher compared to a doctor and one could argue but we pay doctors more because they can save lives, they are more essential. But then why does a sports star get paid millions of dollars a year when their contribution kicking a ball or running fast? What we need to understand is what we get paid often has little to do with what we can contribute and more to do with how much money others can make off of us. We can’t make as much off a teacher as we can a doctor and we can’t make as much off a doctor as we can a sports star. While there is a lot a paycheck can bring us one thing it can’t is real lasting worth. If we keep tying our worth to our work, then it will lead not only to a life striving instead of thriving but one of valuing those we see as successful while we look down on those we don’t. We need to stop valuing people based on their paycheck and start valuing them as a person. When I travel is the guy who cleans the bathrooms in the airport less important that the pilot? Or is it the size of their paycheck or what they do what matters most? So, go ahead and applauded those who right now are deemed essential workers, I am thankful for them, but let’s stop this devaluing of those who are deemed not as essential. As long as we do the real VIRUS the hole in the human heart that causes us to value people based on their work instead of their worth will be what destroys us. I wonder if maybe we are worried about the wrong virus, because while Covid-19 is serious it will pass, but the hate in our heart will not if we don’t get serious about eliminating its spread. Both Genesis 1:27 and James 3:9 remind us that we have been created in the image of God, all of us. Until we see everyone through God’s eyes, as valuable we will be a people in a state of perpetual pandemic. A diseased people who esteem or despise others based on a position instead of as a person. What if we started valuing people’s worth based on God’s Word and not their work? It breaks my heart to see people on social media putting some people up while putting others down based simply on how essential they seem right now. Let’s stop valuing people based on their work and instead love them based on their worth. No parent says I hope my kid grows up to be a truck driver but right now without them we would all die. We see their valuable contribution to society in the midst of a pandemic, but will we still see their worth when this is over? We won’t if we keep seeing them only as a truck driver instead of as a person. My fear is that the virus that invades the heart will cause us to go back to tying their worth to their work. Maybe the greatest blessing of this pandemic is the reminder of where our real worth comes from. What if this pandemic has the power to reset our hearts and not just our heads so that we value empathy more than economy? I believe that the greatest tragedy would be an economy recovery void of an empathetic one. Where we have more money but not more mercy. Where we are once again economically stable but emotionally unavailable.