Christianity is more than insurance

Published 8:13 am Friday, September 21, 2018

By Pastor Brandon Young
Recently, I was visiting area businesses in Elizabethton trying to find resources and employment for families in need for the Roan Mountain Resource, Career, and Job Fair that will be held at Cloudland Elementary on November 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. I decided to stop in to my insurance agent’s office and ask them to present during the fair. After I finished explaining and he very kindly agreed to help, he asked if he could quote me an insurance policy. I grinned and told him I was already his customer. He seemed embarrassed that he had forgotten who I was, but in his defense, it had been a long time since I took out the policy, and I have only used my insurance twice for minor incidents. He stated that we needed to reevaluate my insurance since such a long time had passed and make needed changes. I agreed, and we went over my policy. After I left his office, I began thinking about insurance, and how it applies to our spiritual walk with Christ. For many, Jesus is only an insurance policy for when life gets rough, and a “get out of Hell free card” at the end of life. This is not what Jesus wanted.
Revelation 3:20 states, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Jesus wants to come into our lives and begin a relationship with us. He is not an insurance agent that forgets who we are, but instead he desires to be our best friend. He wants to be an active part of our lives. I don’t carry my insurance policies around with me, and I definitely am not in love with any of them. I truly never mention them in my conversations, and I never want to have to use them. They are just part of the backup plan for when life goes wrong. Unfortunately, for many, Jesus just seems to be a backup plan as well. Folks seem to want Jesus when everything around them is failing, but in the good times in life, he is forgotten completely.
Lost or forgotten life insurance policies are very common in the U.S. It’s estimated that more than $7 billion in benefits from unclaimed life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed by their rightful beneficiaries. It is like the old saying, “Out of sight, out of mind.” We only care about our insurance when an accident, fire, or tragedy has occurred. If we only think of Jesus when life gets bad or at the end of our lives, we truly do not have a relationship with him. He is only an insurance policy! This concept of Jesus being insurance originated in the 1800s with evangelists, and it has continued until today. It has been the church that helps to promote such a distant relationship.
Fire Insurance. It’s a clever catchphrase, though, and many an evangelistic conversation has been started with the famous words “Excuse me, sir, but do you have a moment to talk about a fire-insurance policy?” What does that say about evangelism when it makes sense to pretend (for only a second!) to be an insurance salesman? There is also the term fire-insurance gospel for any preaching that seems to be focused on getting people to accept Jesus just so they can avoid hell fire and brimstone. It is the turn or burn mentality. Many folks came to the front of the church during a revival or church service just so they could feel like they were safe from an eternity in Hell. The evangelist would call it fire insurance originating from the idea that faith in Jesus Christ is a means of avoiding condemnation in Hell. This type of relationship often does not last because a person will generally not serve God with his or her whole heart solely out of fear of going to Hell.
Mark 12:28-31 says, “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? 29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” The Greek word for heart is Passion. Jesus wants us to have a passionate relationship with him. Passion means an intense affection, love, and a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept. That definitely does not describe how I feel about my insurance policy!
Jesus is a treasure to have daily with you, and not an insurance policy to obtain and place in a lock box until a dreadful day! In most cases, our love and affection for God grows more intense as time goes by. Certainly, young Christians newly saved are very much aware of the love of God and their love for Him, but it is through the witness of God’s faithfulness during times of struggle and trial that a deep love for God grows and grows. Over time, we witness His compassion, mercy, grace, and love for us, as well as His hatred for sin, His holiness, and His righteousness. We cannot love someone we don’t know, so knowing Him passionately should be our first priority. Those who pursue God and His righteousness, who take seriously the command to love Him above all else and others as themselves, are those who see Jesus as a friend, not an insurance policy. They are eager to study God’s Word, eager to pray, eager to obey and honor God in all things, and eager to share Jesus Christ with others. He is always on their minds! This is much more than a forgotten insurance policy, and that’s the way Jesus wants it!
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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