Sunday night, thanks to the incredible generosity of some friends of mine, I was able to go to Indianapolis for the Colts/Eagles football game. It was a good game…if you are a Colts fan. I am really a fan of the Dark Roasted Beans – my fantasy team. But since I have three players from the Colts, it was a good night for me as well. But I digress.

After the game, we were able to go downstairs to try to see some of the Eagles players as they left the locker room to board their team bus. The family I was with was able to get several autographs, and I got to see several players up close, as well as Tony Dungy (Colts coach) and John Madden and Al Michaels (TV commentators). As we waited and called out to the players to get an autograph, I was disappointed to see that most of them kept their heads down and ignored their fans and walked straight out the door. Several did sign autographs and pose for pictures, but not many. It also seemed like the bigger the star, the less likely he was to acknowledge the fans, although this wasn’t always the case.

As I watched this scene unfold, I realized that one of the big problems in our society today is the issue of celebrity. We value and respect a few people because they are beautiful or talented in a few professions that we respect – like acting or sports or music. We clamor around to get a glimpse and maybe, just maybe, be able to shake their hand or get an autograph. These are the people who make millions of dollars and are recognized everywhere. We ask for their political opinions and give them more merit because they can play the guitar.

So here is my question – maybe just to myself, but I’d love other input as well. Who should we get autographs from? Who should we say thank you to or give some recognition? Who are the people in our society who are valuable, but underappreciated? I’ll start the list, but feel free to chime in. Please note that these are not in any particular order – just the order in which they came to me.

Moms – the most important job in the world is to raise children, and there are millions of moms who are doing this with no recognition, no praise. They often work outside the home, and then come home to another full time job at home.

Garbage men – Who wants to get up early every morning to go and pick up all of the nasty stuff that we have thrown away? If something stinks, we throw it away. We don’t think to appreciate that somebody is leaving their warm bed to come and take our stinky stuff away somewhere. I once read that when Reagan was shot he was out of the office for several weeks, but when the garbage collectors in New York went on strike they were called back in only a few days.

Firemen/Policemen – They may get some recognition, but not nearly enough. How much value should we place on people who train and work so that they can protect us – who go to work for the primary purpose of eliminating the things that threaten us?

Nurses – Doctors are valuable, please don’t get me wrong on that, but the world would stop if it weren’t for nurses. Doctors seem to get all the glory, but what about the nurses who change bedpans or clean up bodily fluids? The ones who have to give sponge baths or install IVs in difficult patients? While the doctors make the big decisions, the nurses are there all the time to provide continuous care for the patients.

Secretaries – We encourage people to go to school and succeed, but we forget that the people who make any business run are the secretaries. Schools, churches, businesses – it is the support staff who make it possible for the others to do their job. Teachers couldn’t teach if they had to do all the things that the secretaries do. What would an executive be like if he or she didn’t have someone to answer their phones or take notes or keep up with their appointments?

I’m sure there are more. I guess my hope is that we all will think of things differently. What would the world be like if we would treat these people with the same respect we give to a 24 year old who happens to be good at returning punts? What kind of influence would we have as Christians if we value everyone as God values them? How refreshing that would be!