Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverends Steeghs
by Peter Steeghs-Center Point, TX
All of us desire stability and security in our lives, but we live in a world in which we can never predict with certainty what may happen from one day to the next. We do not have to be on top of an active volcano to know that this is a reality. Accidents, fires, illness and death-these are situations we all have encountered directly or indirectly in our lives. Even taking a car ride can be a relatively hazardous undertaking. In the words of Forrest Gump: "It happens." We do not think about these possibilities very often, and in fact we should not dwell on them. Nevertheless, they are realities we do give some attention to from time to time and take some measure of precaution against, when we can.
One popular precaution many people take against any of these events is insurance. Simply stated, insurance is a method of financial protection by which one party undertakes to indemnify (reimburse or compensate) another party against certain forms of loss. The insured person pays a relatively small amount of money (the premium) for a stated period of coverage, and in return the company will reimburse for loss caused by an event covered in the policy.
Forms of insurance have existed since the earliest civilizations. Modern insurance began in the 13th century when medieval guilds would sometimes insure members against trade losses. Also, ship owners started to insure their ships and cargo against loss at sea. These ship owners met at coffee houses to transact business with groups of wealthy individuals willing to insure property against potential loss. The leading coffee house eventually became Lloyds of London in the 17th century. (In fact, Lloyds is not an insurance company but provides a meeting place and clerical services to its members who transact the business of insurance and who are grouped into syndicates to underwrite risks.)
Fire and life insurance were first offered in the 16th century. In the United States the first fire insurance company was started by Benjamin Franklin in 1752, and was known as the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. There are now many private and publicly-held insurance companies in the United States. Even the American government is a large insurance provider covering life and health insurance through various sources, and because private insurance companies exclude catastrophic risks, the federal government has stepped in to provide war risk insurance, nuclear energy liability insurance, national flood insurance, federal crime insurance, federal crop insurance, and insurance on mortgage loans.
At the state level, governments are involved in providing unemployment insurance, workers' compensation programs, and state-run medical expense insurance plans. Federal, state and local governments provide social insurance (Social Security and Medicare) to a segment of the population who would otherwise be without disability income, retirement income, or medical care. The bottom line is: insurance is here and everywhere in a big way.
I am sure that everybody is very familiar with insurance because practically all of us are covered by one, or several forms of insurance right now; whether it is car insurance, health insurance, home insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, or social security. Obviously insurance covers a need by offering us security and relief from financial and emotional stress at a time when we are likely to need it most.
In discussing insurance we are of course talking here about something that can be of use in our physical life on earth. However, physical insurance is not going to be of much use to us in our eternal life or our spiritual life. So the question is whether or not something like spiritual insurance exists, and if it does, what it would look like.
In essence many churches would like us to believe that there is a thing like spiritual insurance. Religion has from the earliest times jumped on the bandwagon of offering insurance in a spiritual form by guaranteeing salvation. In fact, this is what upset Martin Luther so much when in the 16th century the Catholic Church started marketing indulgences to the faithful. If an indulgence was purchased, the church offered people redemption of their sins and a place in heaven in exchange.
This practice, however, did not stop with Martin Luther, and we see that a similar trend is continuing today. People are promised a place in heaven by churches if they fulfill certain conditions such as receiving the Holy Sacraments before they die, or baptism in a particular church. People are even promised to be forgiven of their future sins and are guaranteed resurrection if only they profess to believe in Jesus. I have to think of the song, "Spirit in the Sky," by Norman Greenbaum, which was popular for a while in the '70s; it goes, "I never was a sinner, I never sinned, 'cause I've got a friend in Jesus." So you could say that Jesus has also been made part of a kind of religious insurance transaction.
The problem with this particular religious insurance is that although, according to some people, these guarantees appear to be in writing, and I am referring to the Bible, the policy language is rather ambiguous and open to various contradictory interpretations. These guarantees may therefore not hold up in the heavenly court of law, and for this reason we cannot call it True Spiritual Insurance, or True Insurance.
Even in our own church, some of these religious tendencies have taken a foothold in some form or another. Some of us believe that we are in a significantly better category than other people because we went the formula course, or because we drank the Holy Wine, or because we faithfully did what our central figure told us to do, or because we were born as Blessed Children. Even though all these things are of profound value, it is simply not true that such accomplishments place us significantly out of the danger of satanic invasion. Perhaps we are gradually finding out that under the cover of certain misperceptions and wishful thinking we are also in danger of making the mistakes other churches and faiths have made, or at least similar ones.
In my opinion, it would be better to recognize clearly that conditions are first represented and accomplished on a symbolic, or formation- stage level, and that all of us are still going the course of fulfilling and realizing them on the substantial level. In this sense, the Blessing for instance is dependent on the eventual fulfillment of our responsibilities.
So perhaps there are no instant solutions or short-cuts in obtaining True Salvation, or in obtaining True Insurance. Perhaps True Insurance can only be obtained "the old-fashioned way," which is by paying our dues substantially and on a regular basis.
In the next segment I hope to address the following questions: What is True Insurance? Who qualifies for True Insurance? How can True Insurance be obtained? How do we pay into our True Insurance account? What benefits does True Insurance offer? How and when can the benefits of True Insurance be cashed in? What is a way to check the accumulations in our True Insurance account?
What is True Insurance?
It is hard to define "true insurance" but we might describe it as the spiritual benefits a person receives after having invested his/her heartistic effort in living righteously and for the sake of others during the course of their life.
True Insurance of course cannot be bought, and can therefore not even adequately be described or compared externally. But if we have to use an analogy, then, True Insurance could perhaps be compared to what is called an "annuity". An annuity differs from life insurance in that life insurance promises payment if one dies too soon. An annuity on the other hand is an insurance against living too long.
In setting up an annuity, you can either pay a large sum of money into an annuity at one time, or in small amounts on a regular basis. Either way, at the time of retirement you cannot get more money out of an annuity than you have paid into it, plus the interest. However, if at retirement you withdraw all the money that you have paid into it gradually and regularly over a predetermined period of time (usually 10 to 20 years), your money will not run out. Even if you live to be more than 100 years old, you will continue to be paid the same amount every month.
True Insurance is thus similar to an annuity in this sense, that in order to receive its benefit, you must be true during the course of your whole life, meaning consistent in your efforts to invest regularly. You cannot receive True Insurance benefits unless you have paid into it. However, once you have done so, you never run out of the benefits because of the heartistic investments that were made.
How can we obtain True Insurance, and who qualifies for True Insurance?
Any person automatically qualifies who is actively committed to creating spiritual value in their life by living by God-centered principles, by improving his own character, and by serving others. Ultimately this process of commitment may lead to meeting the Messiah and changing blood-lineage. However, at that moment the process of qualification only really begins, because that person will be challenged on deeper and deeper levels.
So only people true to themselves and others will continue to meet the qualifications. Unlike external insurance, there is not a fixed moment in which you qualify for True Insurance. It is more like a process in which you continuously have to qualify at any time, and every time, on increasingly deeper and higher levels, and the benefits only accumulate according to the level on which you are able to meet the qualifications.
How do we pay into our True Insurance account?
Basically, by true heartistic commitment and investment. True heartistic investments cannot be measured externally even though it will certainly be felt by others. Because investment into true insurance takes place deep inside our hearts, only we know what we are really paying in. In other words, deep in our hearts we are aware of the sincerity of our investment, our love, our sacrifice, our motivations and our efforts.
External appearances may deceive others and may even at times deceive ourselves, but deep in the silence of our hearts and in our communication with God and spirit world, we know where we are. We cannot deceive our Higher Self and from time to time we therefore need
to come face to face with our Higher Self and God to realign ourselves so that our wheels hit the road more and more evenly and squarely.
What are the benefits of True Insurance?
The benefits are a deeper relationship with God and with others, greater peace of mind and inner security, clarity of spiritual perception and a deeper understanding of others, true and sincere relationships, openness of heart and tolerance, a better ability to give and receive love, deeper intuition and a better spiritual guidance, greater sensitivity, and a sense of accomplishment. We have all experienced these things from time to time. Their intensity seems to come and go, or ebb and flow, depending on our spiritual state and the consistency of our efforts and our true commitment to our goals.
How and when do we draw on our True Insurance benefits?
Continuously, but often we are not aware that we do. The benefits are available to us at times when we may not even know that we have an account at our disposal. Payoffs often come at times when we need them most, in the form of extra help spiritually and/or through human relationships.
How do we check our True Insurance account?
One of the ways in which we can check what we are paying into our account from time to time is to imagine that we've arrived at a moment when we are going to cash in on our spiritual insurance. We can do this by going over in our mind's eye how our relationships stand with others, and seriously review what, and how much, we are investing in our marital relationship, family relationships, friendships, church relationships, relationships with people in our local community and the world community.
In doing so we may find out that we have to make certain revisions in our life. When we do, the important thing to remember is to repent to God and other people for our past mistakes, while at the same time remaining focused on the future and not dwell on the past.
We are what we are, and we are where we are. We cannot change the past. He who lives in the past is bound by the memories of that past and controlled by the events and people they involve. The reason is that he/she is forced to relive the negative emotions that these memories may produce. The important factor therefore is not to focus on our mistakes and our failures but on our continuing efforts in the right direction towards the future.
"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."-Henry David Thoreau
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