Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Insuring Our Treasures

Disgusted with his insurance company after Hurricane Katrina, the Rev. Simmie Harvey let his homeowner policy lapse and left his house in the hands of a higher power.

Somebody up there must like the 88-year-old Baptist minister: His newly uninsured house escaped serious damage last month when a tornado ripped through the city's Uptown neighborhood and toppled a tree that narrowly missed his home.

"I wasn't lucky. I'm blessed," he said. "I'm going to be all right. The Lord takes care of me."

Facing soaring premiums or feeling shortchanged by their insurers, a growing number of homeowners and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi are "going bare," or dropping their coverage altogether, insurance agents and consumer advocates say. Many more are drastically reducing their coverage.
The rest here.

I've been wondering about this for a while. Christians are to be different from the rest of the world, but in reality, we look just like everybody else. We purchase homes and other tangible property that must be insured, especially if it isn't payed for. We buy "treasures" and then pay someone else to reimburse us for it if it should become damaged.

Is this just a necessary evil of living in today's world, or would it be better for Christians to live differently? Can we live without insurance? Should we?


Tony Arnold said...

There are many areas you can forego insurance. Personally I have never enjoyed betting against myself.

However, if you want to have a home and not have homeowner's insurance, you can't finance the house. Mortgage companies require homeowner's insurance w/ sufficient coverage. They want their investment protected since they own the asset. This is reasonable because they have a responsibility to their investors and their employees, many of who may be Christians.

Now, this raises another interesting aspect. If Christians are to act differently and trust God w/ their assets, certainly a biblical idea, then it will also force them to buy assets w/o incurring debt. This too is supported in scripture.


JMG said...

That's what I was sort of getting at. If I buy only enough house or car that I can pay for it without going into debt, then I'm using up all my time having to work to pay for it. That's the problem with debt--I'm slave to the bank that owns it until I finish paying for it. And I must buy insurance for the reason you stated, becoming a slave to the insurance company as well. We all know what Jesus said about serving two masters.

Another insurance question I've been thinking about is health insurance. If I don't have it and I get sick or get into an accident, I won't get very good care. Society will say that I'm getting the care that I deserve because I was irresponsible for not providing myself with health insurance.

Is going along with what society dictates about insurance (and retirement plans, etc.) sort of not trusting that God will take care of me and provide for me? Or is God providing for me by allowing me the opportunity to purchase insurance?

Dr. Michael Kear said...

Can you imagine how it would be if the Church was like it was in the book of Acts?

"And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need." (Acts 2:44-45).

"For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles' feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need." (Acts 4:34-35).

Now, I'm not a communist or anything, and I don't think that these verses say that the early Church members liquidated all their property or belongings, or that we should either. But I do think that they show a principle that takes hold when the Holy Spirit truly inhabits the Body of Christ in an apostolic way.

The Church is probably a long way from being able to do such a thing right now (and so am I personally), but I can see it happening some day. We just need a revival of primitive power and godliness! Then our treasures wouldn't be held in quite so lofty a position, but our brothers and sisters in Christ would be.

Good post, JMG.


JMG said...

I'm glad you dropped by Mike; it's good to hear from you again!

I would love to see a day when the people of today's church act like the people of the early church. The trouble is that as much as I'd like to see it, I don't have the courage to jump in and do it.

jettybetty said...

Have you read "Irresistible Revolution"? I am just about finished with it--and I think you would enjoy it! It has a lot of thoughts along these lines.

JMG said...

JB, I just went to Amazon and read the reviews. I'm going to have to read this one.

Justin said...

Irresistible Revolution is great. You will enjoy it, but it will challenge every facet of your life.

I don't know how I feel about not getting insurance and just "trusting God". I mean, shoot, Luke was a physician, so obviously doctors aren't bad. I mean, you're getting into the realm of Christian Science here, and personally, I think its irresponsible. Its almost the equivalent of putting God to the test.

And, I understand the debt thing... but there are times when debt is necessary and/or beneficial. The problem is accruing debt to the point where it enslaves you.

My parents are building a new house south of Franklin, and my dad didn't want it to get out of control expensive, so he decided that he would give (this is just to church, not charity and other things) per month whatever his mortgage payment is. If he can't afford to give at least his mortgage payment to church a month, while continuing to give to the other things that he gives to, he would start downsizing the house.

I don't know that that is the answer, but I think its a good start, and I plan on doing the same thing when I buy a house.

crittermer said...

I've been thinking about it and I guess I don't have much of a problem with insurance since I do think it can be God's way of providing for our needs if we get into some kind of a bind. That being said, I do think that insurance can perpetuate our society's obsession with materials and status. For instance, I know of some people who own so much technological equipment, jewelery, etc. that they feel like they have to buy special insurance for their stuff. So basically, not only can "stuff" enslave us because of the cost, it can also enslave us because we worry about how to hoard and protect it. I think the same thing can be said of houses and cars, as people with extravagant houses and cars also have to buy more expensive insurance policies.

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

From a purely capitalist pug perspective, I believe that home mortgages are a good thing. By financing a home that is more expensive than we could otherwise afford, we can harness the power of leverage, thereby greatly increasing our investment returns on the real estate appreciation.

We can then use this newly created wealth to support worthwhile endeavours -- charity, tithing to a church or mosque, etc.

JMG said...

That's true, Mugsy, but only if you sell your house or take out a home equity loan. I'm not gonna borrow money to donate it to charity.

Ayatollah Mugsy said...

At my mosque, we offer low-interest loans to those who cannot afford to tithe.