First off, this is not meant as a debate for how well the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will or will not work. It is the questions I have been struggling with and allowing to form my views. Stimulating thought, not division, is the aspiration of this blog.

What does Jesus have to do with Obamacare? Not much has always been my conventional wisdom. However, I have been struck by a story Jesus told about workers. Being a recovering evangelical I have to be intentional in looking at what Jesus says beyond the typical heaven/hell salvation interpretation of everything. Since I have come to understand God’s Kingdom isn’t simply a then and there situation but also here and now His words mess with me on a more practical level. Anyway, here’s the story from Matt 20:1-15 The Message

A Story About Workers

20 1-2 “God’s kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work.3-5 “Later, about nine o’clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.5-6 “He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o’clock. At five o’clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, ‘Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?’“They said, ‘Because no one hired us.’“He told them to go to work in his vineyard.

“When the day’s work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, ‘Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.’

9-12 “Those hired at five o’clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, ‘These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.’

13-15 “He replied to the one speaking for the rest, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn’t we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can’t I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?’

Now for some of my story. I met my beautiful wife, Emily in October of 1997. She had recently been diagnosed with a blood disorder that was attacking her platelets. I was a brash, cocky young plumber ready to conquer pretty much anything with a good work ethic. My Mom had always been scared of the idea of not having insurance so she always encouraged me to make sure my employers provided insurance at some level, so I did.  Emily was in college and on her parents insurance so there were no worries.

We fell hard for each other 🙂 Lucky for me, she accepted my proposal and we were married late in ’99. She was placed on my insurance. During the following years I made different job changes all the while maintaining insurance. Because if it lapsed, then her health issues would be a pre-existing condition and then not covered. Thankfully there was COBRA which enabled us to always pay the $500-$900 out of pocket until  the new coverages would kick in.  All this time I would see friends,family and coworkers who were “healthy” waive their coverage in favor of raises. Not a luxury I could afford to risk.

Flash forward to the Obamacare debate and passing and I was a bit upset which I thought was simply my personal doubts about the governments abilities to make it work. However, the other day this story of Jesus’ just got in my mind and wouldn’t leave. I had the conviction I was jealous and envious of the “free ride” the ACA would be providing. I mean it really isn’t fair, is it? All these years of being diligent to make sure my family and I were covered???!!!?!?!? Was it all worthless?  Frankly, it pissed me off!

So I followed this logic (quite possibly the Spirit) on down the road. Am I saying those who don’t make wise choices shouldn’t be helped? OUCH! That stings! Am I saying that since I made the sacrifice only those like me should be covered? I didn’t like where this was going. So compassion is dependent on the efforts of the downtrodden? UGH! If a country is choosing to be gracious with its resources to the ‘least of these’, what is that to me? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
So…… this is where Father has lead me. Oh great! This is fun. So one of my main objections is rooted in the unfairness of grace. Nice, real nice!