Look to your health; and if you have it, praise God, and value it next to a good conscience; for health is the second blessing that we mortals are capable of: a blessing that money cannot buy.
Izaak Walton, English Writer.
Ah! I am feeling almost humanâ€”Neanderthal, maybeâ€”and have come to appreciate health more than ever. Nothing like feeling crappy to awaken genuine thanksgiving for feeling well.
So, what about health and health care? A few years back Jody and I went for several years without health insurance as a result of something we â€œaffectionatelyâ€ call our â€œgreat kaboom.â€ During that time we were fortunate to have very few incidents that required health careâ€”we were healthy. The fact is, without the blessing of good health during those years we could have been ruined. One major health issue could have wiped us out. I know this because I have known people for whom that was true. Health problems forced them into bankruptcy and near homelessness.
The answer, it would seem, is insurance. Yet for many, insurance is substandard, the costs are too high to be sustainable. Small businesses are forced to spend stratospherically high rates for insurance for employees and large corporations are increasingly pressed to limit health care to preserve the all-important bottom line. Health becomes a secondary issue; cost becomes primary.
This causes me to wonder if there isnâ€™t something that the community of Christ-followers ought to be doing to serve one another in this. If we see ourselves as a uniquely identifiable community in the world, can we not put our creative energies together to solve some of the fundamental problems that face us in our sojourn here?
Let me open up the discussion. What would happen if local communities of â€œcalled out onesâ€ began to explore ways to make sure that all in the community were adequately cared for? There are several issues that would have to be considered.
Accountability. If brethren are willing to accept the help of the community, they ought to be willing to allow that community to speak into their lives regarding their health.
Responsibility. The community would need to be willing to take responsibility for the care of needy brethren by contributing to financial needs.
Creativity. Members of the community will have to be willing explore ways to provide for one another. That means the care of the community needs to be a priority.
Iâ€™ve wondered for a while about the potential for a community encouraging the use of health care cooperatives like Christian Care Medi-share in which the membership takes responsibility for the costs of its members. Is there potential for a community of Christ-followers to participate individually in such a program and to corporately pool resources locally to help one another with regular doctor visits, well baby care, and other lower-cost health needs?
Iâ€™m going to ponder this for a bit. Our life between the worlds is more than just a waiting game for the Kingdom. It involves living in a community that loves intentionally, practically, and visibly. Taking care of the sick, and keeping us well, is just one way to do that, it seems to me.