The curse of avarice is alive and kicking in pandemic-rife England in 2021. I keep reading that such and such a group of people want x% rise in their wages, and of course ‘they are worth it’, and ‘have earned it’. Of course, there is always a good reason why they should receive this speculative figure, the current reason is that they have worked hard during the pandemic or the alternative that they have been at risk during the pandemic!
Please forgive me but is not always working hard a given if someone is paying you, it is generally part of a contract that for said number of hours ‘work’, a said rate of pay will be given. Secondly, some jobs are inherently riskier than others, but that is known from the outset. I would argue that over the past 17 months all of us have been at risk more.
In a time when many have lost their jobs, businesses have closed, many household budgets have been stretched, and the country has borrowed Billions of pounds, I am not sure that anyone can argue for a rise in their wages. Particularly as the loudest voices for a wage rise seem to be coming from those who have a public role. This means that their voice seems to be heard by the media louder than other voices.
I recognize that this will go down like the proverbial lead balloon in some quarters, but if we were all just able to step back & look at the situation we find ourselves in, and be thankful for what we have, it might bring a bit of balance to the situation.
When over 4 million people worldwide have died after contracting covid, when families have been unable to visit loved ones or attend funerals. When the furlough scheme has provided financial relief for millions and saved businesses from liquidation. When a vaccination is being offered to virtually everyone in this country, and for the vast vast majority of us we still have a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs. When climate change is transforming the world we live in. Is chasing a rise in our wages [I premise this by recognizing that there are always some for whom life is a financial struggle, and most definitely need a rise in their financial income, but for the majority, this is not true] the most important thing in life when we have enough?
The Apostle Paul said that he had ‘learned to be content in all things’. He had learned that he did not need more than enough for that day and was content with that. The Lord’s Prayer says, ‘give us this day our daily bread’, because that is all we need, provision for today.
In exceptional times, expressing thanks for all that we have, being content with the provision that today brings, and recognizing that we do not need more than enough is surely a better way of being human. A better way to respond to exceptional times is to offer an exceptional response, one that lays down our natural propensity for self-gain for the greater good of all humanity.