As Jacob traveled to Egypt with his family, he had no idea what would be the mind set of his posterity when they would travel that same path back towards Canaan. Other instances from the Bible could be cited as similar examples of men that made a choice, only to have their posterity depart widely from the intended path chosen by the previous generation. In recent history, we have seen changes in society that on the surface appeared good, but have produced an outcome that few anticipated.
One such example would be the welfare programs of the sixties. The United States had endured decades of tumult including the Great Depression, a World War, the Korean War and was still actively involved in the Vietnam conflict. Many people were poor, and did not have enough to eat. In those days it was easy to find people that were truly needy, and many Christians were blessed as they shared with the poor and hungry.
As the United States government assumed an increasing role in aiding its people, it sounded plausible that the government could be used to give food to the unfortunate. Few people thought about the mentality that this would produce in years to come. Eventually those who drew from these programs would view it as the government’s responsibility to feed them.
It is not the role of the Christian to repair the flaws of government. The Scriptures instruct us to pray for our leaders. But, wouldn’t it be wise to evaluate the direction we are heading and the mentalities that we are creating?
Our brotherhood assistance plan is worthy of serious consideration. We live in complex times. Medical science is advancing at a rate never before seen in the world. The modern medical world has learned how to add quantityof life, and it seems the norm in society to use every opportunity to extend life. At the same time, these procedures come with a great cost. While the debt load of society is going up, the insurance companies are continuing to remind us that we need their help.
Not only have we resisted the medical insurance, but many of us are also exempt from Social Security. In addition, many of us do not need to pay standard insurance premiums on our vehicles. We accept the responsibility to help each other with hospital bills, take care of the elderly, and repair damages to our automobiles as well as the vehicles of others that we have damaged.
Over the years this has saved us a lot of money and has allowed us to continue in these areas without being forced to pay the usual costs. It has also allowed us to live on a higher level than if we had needed to pay commercial premiums for medical, retirement, and auto insurance. All of this seems to put us out of touch with what it actually costs to enjoy the medical benefits so available today. It seems that the affluence of our land and the savings from these programs have resulted in a higher standard of living than is beneficial for us. Back in the “old days” it was not uncommon to see the lower class of cars, like “Falcons,” “Mavericks,” or Chevrolet “Bel-Airs”. How many of us are content with the low end of vehicles?
At the same time, it seems that we are slipping into a mentality that we “cannot afford” the assistance program anymore. We see the required amount for our assistance needs to be met and think it nearly impossible. I wonder if we are too near the place where we think it is the church’s responsibility to pay for our assistance needs.
At the same time, we do not seem to realize the cost of taking advantage of all the advancements in the medical world nor the price of protection needed for the privilege of driving on our roads. Quick calculations would show us that if we took the money required for each of us to have a medical plan, combined the cost of a standard vehicle insurance policy (especially considering the amount our members under 25 are saving on expensive vehicles) and further added what would be required for social security tax, our needs would be met very adequately.
One of the great problems of society in this country is that many people refuse to take personal responsibility for their life and actions. We must remind ourselves and our children of the personal responsibility that each one of us bears. We are responsible for our bills. When we have a need beyond our ability to meet, we have a brotherhood that wants to help.
For us as a church, helping each other is a wayof teaching responsibility. We know that there are medical situations that would be impossible for us to pay by ourselves. Helping each other is a responsible way. Along with this, we must remind ourselves that if we as individuals needed to face this responsibility outside of a brotherhood assistance plan, it would cost us more per member than it does now.
Our challenge today is to help our people sense the need to use some of our “savings” to meet the needs within our brotherhood. Each one must sacrifice to make our assistance programs work. We cannot dismiss our responsibility and figure that the ones with “lots of money” will make up any shortfall. To believe that these services are owed to us is the mentality of a worldly society. This is not a Christian attitude, it does not portray the attitude of Christ, nor will it preserve what we have loved and appreciated. God help us to be responsible for the privileges we enjoy.