The intelligence of our modern age has done a dandy job of solving the
“what ifs” of life.
What if you have a car accident? Insurance.
What if you receive a serious diagnosis? Insurance.
What if a fire destroys your belongings? Insurance.
What if someone steals your possessions? Insurance.
What if you lose your cell phone? Insurance.
Whether or not you like it or want to pay for it, insurance is the necessary, responsible, wise choice. Just in case.
What if God says otherwise?
Let’s define insurance as “a backup fund for an emergency situation.” Does the Bible speak of such an “emergency fund”?
It says, “Don’t worry about tomorrow.”
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matt 6:34
“Well, I’m not worrying,” you say. “I’m just being careful. I’m thinking ahead. Remember the ant?”
Yes, the ant gathers for expected needs. Everyday living.
She prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. Prov 6:8
As for “what ifs,” you might say Ecclesiastes has a word or two.
You know not what disaster may happen on earth. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.
A man with common sense doesn’t plant or reap when a storm is coming? Well of course he doesn’t. I’m not seeing how that translates into, “Set aside plenty of money just in case a tree falls on your car or you dive into a swimming pool with your phone in your pocket.”
Does the Bible suggest any kind of “insurance plan” at all? Note what Paul presents to us under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness. 2 Cor 8:12-15
In the context here, it would seem that Paul is saying that a church body, in proper health and function, will work together to provide for one another’s needs. Those with plenty will help those with little. Those who have no need will help those in need. Carried out as God intended, this is a fair “insurance plan.”
Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise. Luke 3:11
My question is, Should Christians purchase insurance?
Does it reveal wisdom or fear? Foresight or presuming upon tomorrow?
The Bible is certainly not clear. But it does speak much of a person’s attitude towards their money and possessions.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall. Prov 11:28
If we’re not trusting in insurance to take care of the unexpected, why do we have it?
Riches do not profit in the day of wrath. Prov 11:4
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. James 5:1-6
What if the what ifs never happen? That’s a lot of money to spend on chance.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. James 4:13-14
There is much to consider, especially when we are pressured to have insurance we don’t want in the first place. But that’s another issue entirely.
My observation is simply that the Bible speaks about money, possessions, work, making plans, and responding to the unknown. But rather than the idea of a “backup plan,” it urges Christians to live as strangers and pilgrims in this world. To walk by faith, not by sight. To give, not to hoard. To trust, not to worry. To help those in need, not to rely on any insurance company to do so.
And so I question my motives and actions. Am I depending on human plans and resources instead of relying on the great Owner of all? Am I taking matters into my own hands instead of trusting the One who holds the universe in one palm? Am I adopting a human system which disregards the instruction of an infinitely wise God?
He surely sees no “emergency” with his all-knowing eyes. And I’m supposed to see like him.
I have my share of modern-day conveniences, and I’ve met society’s expectations when it comes to insurance. But the Bible keeps me wondering if I shouldn’t.
And my bank account. It makes me wonder, too.
It’s a thought.
[image credit: flickr.com, journeyoftheword.com]