A Biblical Perspective on Insurance
Let’s just say it up front, insurance is not something you like, let alone want to spend time or money on. A common perspective is that it is a “necessary evil.”
A well-known passage of scripture is Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” We know that everything that we have is from God (James 1:17). With this as our starting point, we know that we are not owners of anything, but simply stewards. As such, we are to care for what God has given us and use what we have to serve God and love others. This is where insurance starts.
“This for that.” Nate Irwin, Global Outreach Pastor at College Park Church recognizes with this simple phrase that careful stewardship of a church’s facilities and finances (this) enables a church to have a greater impact for the Kingdom across the world (that). Maintaining and regularly reviewing your insurance coverages is an example of “this for that. Not having well-managed insurance can leave a church vulnerable should circumstances arise which affect the churches assets, when it could have been mitigated by proper insurance coverages and good risk management. Thoroughly reviewing exposures and coverages with an insurance advisor enables a church to steward those risks and keep on mission.
We can expect to experience hardship and loss, and Scripture applauds those who take precautionary measures to safeguard themselves against unforeseen loss and disaster. Proverbs 27:12 says, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” Insurance is a “risk transfer” technique, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to see insurance as a “means” by which the prudent man “hides/shields himself” from danger. This principal goes hand in hand with the passage we see about “the wise man ensuring an inheritance for his children” in Proverbs 13:22. A function of insurance is to protect your assets, thereby allowing you to maintain an inheritance for your children.
Responsibility for Our Actions
The Bible doesn’t skirt around the fact that we are responsible for our actions which may cause injury or loss to our neighbor. This truth is reiterated all throughout scripture but is especially prevalent in the Old Testament law. Exodus 21 and 22 nicely highlight the principle of our responsibility to our neighbor. Look at these examples:
- If a man causes injury to another man, he is responsible to pay for his injuries and lost wages (Ex 21:18).
- If a man does not secure his ox (that specifically has a history of hurting people), and the ox kills someone, both the ox and the owner face the harshest of penalties. (Ex 21:28-29)
- If a man neglects to cover a pit that he has dug, and someone’s livestock falls in, the man who dug the pit shall pay the full price of the animal. (Ex 21:33-34)
- If a man steals, he is required to repay double what he has stolen (Ex 22:7-9)
- If a man starts a fire that inadvertently burns his neighbors’ field, the man who starts the fire must pay for the loss. (Ex 22:6)
When our carelessness or lack of concern for a neighbor causes harm, the Bible is unapologetically clear that we are responsible to indemnify (an insurance term for “making one whole”) our neighbor. Modern insurance policies enable us to restore all that our neighbor has lost due to our actions.
Love for our Neighbor
The over-arching theme of all of this, is love for our neighbors. Jesus gives us the two greatest commandments, to love God with all our heart, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mk 12:30-31). Yes, modern insurance policies are intended to protect our assets (prudence), but it is so much more than that. Insurance is a mechanism that enables us to care for our neighbor when we inadvertently cause harm. Love for our neighbor is what motivates us to exercise good risk management to keep others out of harm’s way (similar as the parapet laws in Deuteronomy 22:8). Love for our neighbor is what prompts us to consider others when selecting our auto liability limits, ensuring that we can adequately meet the needs of those we hurt. Next time you are tempted to see insurance as a “necessary evil,” I would encourage you to instead, consider insurance as a way that God has given us to love our neighbors well.
Do you have an insurance advisor that understands this? At Capitol, we do.
We love to partner with churches and ministries and help them fulfill the Church’s over-arching mission. And we represent insurance companies that understand it and see themselves as your partner.
Even if you are not our client, we stand ready to help you in any way we can. Talk to one of our insurance advisors that understand your mission and see our fresh perspective by what we do, not what we say.