• Foundations of Truth

Keep Calm and Carry On

Ecclesiastes 9:10 exhorts people to do everything to the best of their abilities, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”

Philippians 2:14-15 echoes the value of hard work by teaching: “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.”

Both of these verses exhort believers in the one true God to recognize the sacred nature of the work we are given to do on this earth. We should do our work to the best of our abilities without complaint and without an expectation of reward since we are merely performing our God-given duties.

Unfortunately, this sentiment does not appear to be universally understood or shared.

In July of 2021 it was announced that many teachers in the U.S. were receiving “thank-you” bonuses (also called “hazard pay”) for having to “juggle teaching in-person and online, with erratic schedules as schools had to shut down due to outbreaks.” [1]

This bonus came after teachers’ unions across the United States and around the world demanded that teachers receive special hazard pay. In the words of one union representative from Tennessee, teachers were deserving of this special bonus because “educators [are] going into a work situation that is more dangerous than it has ever been.” [2]

Unsurprisingly, this demand was met with derisive comments from numerous everyday-joes who were forced to accept the exact same risks and pandemic working conditions as teachers without any expectation of special compensation. In the words of Irish writer Larissa Nolan: “I am thinking of taking the teachers’ unions lead and throwing my hat into the ring for an ol’ pandemic bonus. Going by their criteria, I’m eligible for consideration. Like the unions, I could also argue I’m not looking for the payment, per se, but don’t I deserve the opportunity to make my case?” [3]

While the snarkiness in this case may be a bit excessive, it points to a simple reality: the biblical ethos of uncomplaining duty is still strong enough that people expect teachers’ unions to show the same virtue.

By the end of 2020, 33% of Americans had contracted COVID-19 [4] and as of September 2021, 80% of Americans had detectable antibodies to COVID-19 based on data from blood donor studies. [5] With a new COVID-19 pill similar to Tamiflu on the horizon [6], it is high time all of us kept calm and carried on.

As the Bible teaches, all of us have jobs to do and roles to play. We should no more reward people for doing their jobs than we should applaud them for not stealing from others. Instead, as we know from Romans 5:3-4, “we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

The pandemic is old news..now, let’s get on with our lives.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

[1] Greg Heilman, “Which states are paying $1000 “thank you” stimulus and to whom?” as (July 21, 2021), https://en.as.com/en/2021/07/21/latest_news/1626889560_345958.html

[2] Kelli Cook, “Tenn. teachers union demands hazard pay, statewide mask mandate,” ActionNews 5 (November 17, 2020), https://www.actionnews5.com/2020/11/17/tenn-teachers-union-demands-hazard-pay-statewide-mask-mandate/

[3] Larissa Nolan, “If teachers are deserving of a Covid bonus, I want one too,” Independent.IE (October 2, 2021), https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/if-teachers-are-deserving-of-a-covid-bonus-i-want-one-too-40909287.html

[4] “One in Three Americans Already Had COVID-19 by the End of 2020,” Columbia University (August 26, 2021), https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/one-three-americans-already-had-covid-19-end-2020#:~:text=26%202021-,One%20in%20Three%20Americans%20Already%20Had%20COVID,by%20the%20End%20of%202020&text=A%20new%20study%20published%20in,by%20the%20end%20of%202020

[5] Ed Cara, “Blood Donor Study Estimates Over 80% of American Adults Now Have Coronavirus Antibodies,” Gizmodo (September 3, 2021), https://gizmodo.com/blood-donor-study-estimates-over-80-of-american-adults-1847613622

[6] Matthew Perrone, “Merck says COVID-19 pill cuts risk of death, hospitalization,” AP (October 1, 2021), https://apnews.com/article/merck-says-experimental-covid-pill-cuts-worst-effects-a9a2245fdcee324f6bbd776a0fffcc60

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