Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
How has the pandemic affected your life? The coronavirus pandemic has broken down the determination and destroyed the motivation of many individuals to regroup and develop an alternative plan to continue a productive life. Polluted home environments are filled with smog and the pollution of anger, shattered dreams, domestic violence, and resentment toward those that have done their best to protect us.
There are very few individuals who are still alive that can share their experience of living through the Great Depression. In fact, how many of us remember the H1N1 pandemic that occurred in 2009? Typically, human beings endure the struggle and possess the resilience to push forward despite the tragedies that we face. It has almost been 19 years since the attack of 9/11: The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries, and at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage. Wikipedia. We may lack the resolve to move forward from an individual perspective; however, our societies will continue to exist and recover.
Until now, I have never really viewed life from an economic perspective. Of course, money and the sound management of finances are required to maintain and live a productive life. But, this morning, I stepped out of my comfort zone and read a complete financial analysis regarding the breakdown of the retail market during this pandemic.
We often speak of the advantages of living in a nation built on the American dream whose foundation is money. Now we can see the disadvantages of living in a land that is built on Capitalism. Any country with its priorities based on tangible desires will eventually fail. We cannot deny it, we love money. In fact, our wish list never exhausts itself. The drive to possess much more than our basic necessities is evident, the entertainment and sports industries possess billions of dollars from our desire for fun, yet, homelessness and hunger are at an all-time high.
There are many businesses that are necessary to sustain human, plant and animal life. We will always require essential workers to fulfill their duties to provide our basic needs. And those are the businesses that have not failed; the essential businesses with brick and mortar locations like Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree/Dollar General, Walgreens pharmacies, and grocery stores like Kroger are thriving. It was reported that collectively these few businesses–nationwide have 700,000 jobs available. Whether or not this is an actual number of job vacancies, there are opportunities available if you really desire employment.
What about the convenience of businesses that provide services that we no longer have the desire to do for ourselves? Our time is too valuable to do-it-ourselves because we are fixated on the high maintenance of keeping our outer bodies attractive. While the number of cases and deaths increase, many individuals are concerned about the declining condition of their manicures, pedicures, and hairstyles. We have fallen from grace.
There has been a separation, a great divide of the essential businesses, and the non-essential businesses that are providing luxury conveniences, what we have deemed as needful things. For many years, I ran a sole-proprietorship where I developed tutorials for nursing students that were not receiving passing grades and review courses for graduates of nursing programs that had failed their licensure exams. My business thrived for 12 years, even during my relocation to two other states.
When my husband and I relocated to a town that I had previously resided in, I anticipated many clients because two nursing programs were within a 5-mile radius. However, the research revealed that the reputable nursing programs (programs that were not on probation with their State Board of Nursing) had at least one full-time tutor for their students. At that point, I decided not to continue my non-essential business and pursued other options.
The COVID-19 pandemic has identified and produced a separation of what is essential and what is necessary to sustain our basic physiological needs. So why are individuals protesting, angry with a political party, and possess total disregard for Stay-at-Home and Shelter-in-Place measures? It is because we have lost the comfort of our frivolous non-essential services. Our priorities continue to be misaligned as we reach 1,000,000 COVID-19 infections, and the death toll steadily rises.
There have been financial reports of the surge in online purchasing for a very long time. “Online shopping only became possible when the internet was opened to the public in 1991. Amazon.com was one of the first eCommerce sites in the US to start selling products online, and thousands of businesses have followed since.” Online shopping has been trending and maintaining a thriving profit margin for 29 years. Yet, we did not anticipate the breakdown of retail? https://www.miva.com/blog/the-history-of-ecommerce-how-did-it-all-begin/
When a business–small or large is essential, regardless of the circumstances, they have clientele who are loyal and usually have an up-close and personal relationship with the proprietor. And those customers will continue to utilize and support the Small Business owners. Take a good look at your community, there are privately owned restaurants, package shipping stores, animal grooming, and supplies, mom and pop hardware stores, etc.
If most of your spare time was spent in retail establishments, then your life has been deeply impacted by the closure of most retailers. Non-essential businesses such as Macy’s have furloughed 100,000 workers, and Neiman Marcus has filed for bankruptcy. Capitalism has given us a false sense of security and entitlement, and we are willing to take the risks that we deem are necessary to pursue our desires. How many of us are still in disbelief from the swift destruction of our comfortable lifestyles?
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. By craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10
For individuals who agree and look forward to prosperity, Jesus spoke against storing up tangible possessions. Born in a stable with animals as witnesses, is where the baby Jesus took his first breath. Jesus chose disciples who desired salvation over material things. Have you thought about the fact that Jesus did not even have an earthly home? And one of the scribes came to Him and said, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head. Matthew 8:19-20.
The time has come for us to identify our essential needs and separate ourselves from the idols of non-essential desires, which are the convenient pleasures of this world.
Keep your life free from love of money and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27
God has blessed each of us with spiritual gifts and talents that we have yet to discover. For us to develop and unlock our hidden potentials and abilities, we have to pray and ask for guidance. When our relationship with God is built on faith and trust, it does not matter if our finances are affected by this pandemic, we know who our Jehovah Jireh is, and we know what He is capable of doing for us.
Will God withhold any good thing from those who love Him? For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
We cannot waver between essential and non-essential. If God is your life, the very air that you breathe, if He is your all and all, then serve Him wholeheartedly!
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.