Assurance, not Insurance
- a positive declaration inspiring confidence
- promise of reimbursement in the case of loss; paid to people or companies so concerned about hazards that they have made prepayments to an insurance company
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us. (1 Jn 5:14)
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Php 4:19)
This topic regarding insurance was a pivotal point for myself and my family in regards to the way we used to live, compared to the way we live today.
We previously lived a typical conservative cultural style of Christianity that I refer to as "Americana Christianity". We now live, what I refer to as a "Restored Primitive Christianity", way of life. It is based on a literal reading and understanding of the new testament where ever possible, especially in regards to Jesus' teachings recorded in Matthew chapters 5 through 7. These are phrases that I have personally chosen to describe what we as a family have experienced and in no way do I ascribe them to any possible academic and/or theological terminologies.
The experience that changed our way of thinking happened to us several years ago. At that time we had left all denominational fellowships and we were meeting at a simple community church that didn't even have running water. The bathroom, to this date, still involves an outhouse. It was about as simple as it gets when it comes to creature comforts. It was in this environment that I began to feel comfortable to ask serious questions to the congregates and the pastor on our bible study nights. It had a rural small town atmosphere that made even us, as new comers, comfortable.
One bible study night the topic led me to ask a question in regards to insurance. In my more prosperous years I had purchased a moderately valuable life insurance policy to protect my family in case of my untimely death. Of course coupled with years of other insurance coverage, such as home, household content, vehicle replacement, business activity, etc. I was convinced that I must do this in order to be a "good" steward of what God had blessed me with. (see the article "good vs. evil" to better understand this illusion).
At this time in our lives we as a family were broke. We had come to this point even after selling off unnecessary things but opportunities for work came only sporadically since we were new to the area and considered outsiders by most. We were at a point where even basic expenses needed to be scrutinized in order to pay our bills. So at this point I was unable to pay all the bills necessary and one of them included my life insurance policy. I brought this before the Lord in prayer knowing that by missing this payment not only would I loose my current very affordable coverage, but when I was able to purchase it again my rate would be considerably higher now that I was in my middle 40's. So I began to earnestly search the Lord for answers, but they didn't seem to come.
So in this situation I presented the congregation and the pastor the question....."What does God say about insurance". I was asked for details and then there was a collection of different, " we will be praying for you", or " God will provide" type of answers. So once again I reworded the question because these answer were hollow and so typical of my church experiences over the years. I knew that there was a principle anchored in absolute truth that would guide me but I was still not sure of what that truth was so I was wanting to understand what God had previously impressed on them that night. So I then directed the question back to the pastor and he, with his kind, broad, elderly smile, assured me that there was no universal answer and that the Holy Spirit may tell or direct me to do something that he may not tell someone else.
I was absolutely shocked at his response. This was the same pastor who had been recently preaching on the necessary contribution of each member of the body of Christ and that the church was falling away from this principle and other early church standards. His sincere sermons resonated with me over the past few weeks as he seemed to be on the verge of returning to some universally principled positions the church should still be practicing. Once again I approached the question, now in dismay, that there must be a truth that would be universal to all the saints in regards to insurance and it wouldn't be selective. There also had to be many other universal principles of truth I wanted to apply to my life as well but at this time this was the most urgent need. He once again kindly, and supportively, sent me back to the source of all truth and told me to go before the Lord and the Comforter would guide me. So for the next few days that is what I did.
I beleive it was that Sunday I came back with joy in my heart because that is exactly what happened. I was met with the grace of his truth. That day I shared with the pastor that God had lead me not only to understand what to do with this particular insurance payment but also opened my eyes to the truth of insurance in general. The pastor's eyes lit up at first until I told him that not only did I cancel my insurance, but that having it was directly in opposition to trusting in God. I proceeded to tell him, in a condensed form, that if I needed insurance to protect what I had then it was not provided to me by the hand of the Lord. I proceeded to let him know that everything that I had was a gift from God and that if I had something that required a worldly system to protect in order for me to be honorable and a good steward then it was not something he wanted me to have. I found that in reality I was hedging my trust in God by underpinning it with a worldly system.
From there my joy in sharing became stifled as he assured me that it was wonderful that I had come to this conclusion but that it may not be a universal truth. He was gracious and kind but there was a sense of me being too radical, and that I must be careful not to spread this understanding to far. It wasn't long before other questions that I had came up in the next few weeks but I had a similar responsees but the amazing thing is week after week the Lord would open my eyes as I went back to him. Then I would go back and share but most of what I said from then on was considered real radical and I began to be treated with suspect as if I was challenging the authority of the pastor. We lasted about six more months before we ended up leaving, but it was this topic that began the life we now live in earnest.
I hope the following scriptures helps to put this truth in a more understandable light and reference. Over and over again I find that scripture teaches us to trust him when it comes to material needs and it goes to reason that if we never experience these needs then we truly are not placing our trust in him. Having possessions or a life style that would encourage or require us to have insurance only further isolates and insolates us from trusting in him. Going through the system of insurance as good stewards of what we have been blessed with is simply a smokescreen to the Lord for our own lack of faith and assurance in his provision.
What a hollow faith we must have if we declare that we can trust him for his gift of salvation and eternal life but can not, or will not, live in such a manner where we trust him for our provision and basic natural needs. Living with insurance protection does nothing to development spiritual strength and longsuffering for it gives us a worldly opportunity to "play" believer without really trusting him for everything.
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. (Luk 6:30)
And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)
I will deal with the principle of simplistic living in regards to our possessions in another article, but if we are still buying insurance to protect what God may actually take away from us , or even direct us to give to others, then we are still far from living a non- materialistic, church focused life. When I speak of the church here I am referring to the spiritual union of believers through the headship of Christ established by the apostle's, not the building/sanctuary oriented experience common to most Christian fellowship.
Most States in this country, depending where you live, requires us to have at least liability insurance in order to operate a motor vehicle, but I am not implying that we do not obey state laws. For some the total avoidance of any type of insurance would require you to stop driving or to move to one of the few states left that do not require you to purchase auto insurance to legally operate a vehicle on state roads such as Virginia. I am not aware of any other type of unconditional requirements to have insurance, such as home, health, etc. that we are not able to adjust our lifestyles to accommodate. Once again in regards to the state mandated vehicle liability insurance we are not required to have coverage for our own personal property, just others, so in this sense I do accept that requirement, but no election to cover my own assetts. We can look to the following scriptures and see clearly how we are to approach future events, which insurance purposefully tries to insulate us against. It pools our monies into a collective purse of odds, i.e. gambling. Yes insurance is just another method of gambling. Sounds harsh? Research the economics of it and you may be surprised.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Mat 6:31-34)
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (1 Tim 6:6-11)
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb 13:5-6)
In the above section we have discussed insurance that mostly pertains to material things and many people may agree with the above yet not agree with the issue of health and life insurance. Many believe that we must have at least these because of the realities of life today but once again scripture teaches us what to do if someone is sick or in the case of death what the standards for widows and caring for them is.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (Jas 5:13-16)
Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed. (1 Tim 5:3-16)
After reading the above scriptures we can see that Christ prepared the church to meet legitimate needs in all the areas that a Christian may be tempted to buy insurance in. So even in this case where so many, like myself, who had or have insurance on the basis of good stewardship we have been blind to the truth of God's order of provision and protection available and established through the church. The very church called to be the undisputable Body of Christ, his physical presence in an unrighteous, selfish, and rebellious world of sin.
In closing I will admit this is a hard truth to first grasp but it is one of the most liberating for the earnest follower of Christ in this age of false convictions. The following verses takes on so much more meaning when we trust him totally, not just selectively.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:26-28)
May His grace and peace abound.