As we all know, COVID has reshaped our behavior in many ways. Although some businesses are reopening, many individuals continue to work from home and most normal activities remain on hold.

This virus has also reshaped our thinking. Hopefully, we’ve grown in our relationships with God as we’ve turned to him for strength, stamina, and answers. Hopefully we’ve enriched our relationships with our families through renewed appreciation amidst stay at home orders and the increased realization of life’s brevity.

I’m also hoping it has reshaped our thinking in another way as well. Prior to this pandemic, most of us undervalued many individuals whom we depended on every day. For far too long we took faithful workers for granted, most of whom served us behind the scenes.

Certainly we have all gained a deeper appreciation for our doctors, nurses, CNAs, and other health care workers. These individuals and their staffs have selflessly cared for us and our loved ones for years at their own personal peril. Many have also served in long-term care facilities but have not received the thanks or recognition they deserve. Hopefully this will change all that permanently.

In addition, we have also taken our food supply for granted. For as long as we all have lived, we Americans have enjoyed the cheapest, most abundant, and safest food supply of anyone in the world at any time in history. American agriculture is a tremendous success story that has enabled our economy to become strong. The hard work and efficiency of one America farmer to feed 155 people has permitted research, technology, and industrialization that have enriched our lives abundantly. Hopefully our respect for our vital food producers has grown as we see the struggles they now face to stay afloat.

Likewise, those who process our food have also long been overlooked. Most foodstuffs don’t come off the farm ready to consume. Grains must be made into breads and many other crops must likewise be processed into foods our bodies can digest.

Animals too must be rendered into cuts that will fit in our refrigerators, frying pans, and ovens and human beings perform these difficult and demanding tasks. Locally, we are blessed by thousands who work in poultry processing plants as well as some local retail pork and beef facilities. Suddenly, we have realized how important these people are, not just to our economy, but to each of us personally.

Since most of our food is grown in distant locations, the worth of truck drivers and others in the transportation industry has become obvious. Those of us who previously badmouthed their interstate driving are now praying God’s blessings on them.

Once the food arrives at retailers, it must be handled by stockers and store clerks who are continually exposed to potentially infected customers, some of whom don’t respect them enough to wear masks. And those who have been enjoying restaurant take-out have obtained a renewed appreciation for the cooks and deliverers who are also vital links in our food supply chain.

Our need for treatments and vaccines has highlighted the work of researchers and scientists and those of us forced to worship via Livestream have suddenly valued those with technological knowhow to make it all happen.

For far too long, we have revered our entertainers and athletes whom we now realize we can live comfortably without. Hopefully this crisis will foster renewed interest in these other vital fields along with fair compensation.

Nearly 2,000 years ago, Paul explained how each part of the church is important. In 1 Corinthians 12:22-23, he says, “… those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” Let’s value and thank those we have overlooked for so long and praise God for them. Blessings, George

George Bowers is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren and has authored 16 books, including “Blessings Volume 3”, which is a collection of these articles. It is available at Four Star Printing and Shenandoah Stuff. He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.

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