Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Getting Out of the Insurance Business

“Your child may be buckled in, but is that car seat they are riding in really safe? We’ll tell you in our report at 10.”

“Drinking Water: What you don’t know could kill you. Tune in at 10 to find out why.”

Undoubtedly you’ve heard these and many more like them. They are teaser lines for news shows to try and lure you into consuming the products they are producing. They need you to watch, so they will use one of the most effective motivational tools known to mankind: Fear.

Y2K. Global warming. Swine/H1N1 Flu. Just to name a few off the top of my head. We could together make a long list of fears for which we are being told to brace ourselves for impact.

Fear makes a great sales tool in aiding the salesman to move his wares. I wonder how many transactions were made for computer back ups, tune ups and reconfigurations at the turn of the century when we were told Y2K was going to bring our whole society to its knees? If you were in IT, it was a good year. I don’t know the figures, but I would guess the folks selling H1N1 vaccine have seen an increase in their numbers as well.

The Church of the Future has a lesson to learn from this paranoia. I was raised with a fear of God, fear of death and fear of hell by the leaders of the Church As I Knew It. While I still believe we have an eternal destiny, my outlook on it is shifting from one of selling fear to one of embracing love. How does this work? Let me illustrate it this way.

Fear cripples and clouds sound judgment. How did you act when the clerk at Best Buy asked if you wanted to buy the extended warranty on that printer you just purchased? “For an additional $19 you can have the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, it will be replaced at no extra cost to you.” Did you think about it for a bit? Were you struck with a little twinge of regret when you said no? As you walked to the car, were you ruminating on whether or not you made the right decision? If so, thank Fear for doing its job.

This is a small example of how faith was sold to me as a young man. My entire reason for being was reduced down to having the right answer for these two questions. If I only knew how many times I was asked and taught to ask others, “If you were to die tonight, where would you spend eternity?” and, “If you were to stand before God and he asked you why should I let you into heaven, what would you say?” In essence, I was sold an Extended Warranty out of fear, not a Life of Faith with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.

I think insurance is a good thing. I have plenty of it. I have it to cover my life, my disability, my cars, my house, my business, my health. I believe it’s a wise decision for anyone. But if the determining choice that drives my decision to buy insurance is fear, I will never have enough. I will constantly be plagued by every “what if” scenario I see on the 10 o’ clock news. And the way litigation goes today, I’m sure I could be sued beyond even my insurance company’s ability to pay. So what will I allow to rule my life, Fear or Love?

Peace of mind will never be brought about by insurance, an extended warranty or having the right car seat for my child. Peace is the by product of a bigger source, one that only love can produce. If my life with God is carried along by fear, I’ve missed the boat. And yet the beautiful thing about Grace is, that even if I am following in fear, I am continually invited to step out of that boat and to walk on new places in freedom with Him.