Today’s post is written by Stacey Monaco.
Stacey has been speaking and writing since her first unpublished children’s book in the fifth grade. Her journey as a writer has taken her from the depths of blue water exploration, to the simplicity of crafting words to encourage and educate in the areas of loss, legacy, leadership, and living life passionately with purpose. Stacey received her Masters Degree in Christian Ministry and Leadership from Talbot School of Theology, and has worked in many roles from slinging coffee to pastoring women. She is currently chasing down her 2 year-old grand-girl in Waco, Texas.
Early in January, I walked into my chiropractor’s office for an adjustment to the vertebrae in my neck. I have suffered from migraines for over four decades. Some years ago, the migraines were exacerbated by herniated disks in my neck and back, courtesy of an automobile injury wherein I was T-boned by a truck running a red light. After x-rays, MRI’s, and a battery of prodding, poking and therapies, I was told I would likely need surgery.
My husband endured a spinal fusion at the age of thirty-two. Witnessing his pain and complications, I determined that I would, at all costs, avoid surgery. Choosing this path of personal responsibility started me on a journey stewarding my own health and wellbeing. I considered the foods, supplements and medications I put into my body, as well as the therapies, modalities, and fitness regime that I employed. I chose chiropractic treatment as one element of my own personal self-care. Being an active participant in my own care, and tracking how my body responds has led me on a path of fewer medications, and a greater number of healthful actions. Over the years when my medical practitioners have asked if I wanted to take a flu vaccine, I have opted out, seeking to limit medications where possible.
As I prepared for my therapy, my chiropractor returned to a topic of conversation that I had brought up in passing at my last visit. In a purely matter-of-fact manner, I had mentioned that my husband had received his first Covid-19 vaccination. For our family, it was a milestone, as well as a point for celebration. It marked the turning of a corner on this very long journey.
My husband is a diabetic and a cancer survivor, whose professional life requires him to frequent planes, trains and automobiles. The Covid vaccine enables him to get back to work, and potentially would aid in the protection of several other family members that are also immunocompromised. It gave us hope that they too would soon be able to obtain the vaccination.
I was surprised however when my chiropractor introduced the thought that those choosing to take the Covid vaccine were the equivalent of lemmings and lab rats, willingly lining up for experimentation by the likes of Dr. Frankenstein. He then proceeded to detail any potential negative news stories that he had heard, including one where a medical practitioner died within hours after receiving his second dose.
After quietly receiving my treatment, I returned home, shaken by his lack of professionalism in giving his unsolicited opinion on a medical topic. I also found myself slowly giving way to fear.
As a Christian, I want to make decisions based in fact, not sensationalized sound bites. Moreover, I want to consider the Covid vaccine and my personal responsibility to my own health within a biblical construct, not allowing fear, foundationless opinions, or misconstrued scriptural references to cloud my ability to make sound personal decisions.
Here are three reasons I chose to take the Covid vaccine.
1. God Calls Each of Us to Steward Our Own Bodies.
According to a national poll taken early in 2021, two-thirds of the adults in the U.S. say they are likely to participate in receiving the Covid vaccine. In those who identify as white evangelicals, that figure is a full ten percent less. The possible reasons for this range from concerns regarding the morality of the production of the vaccination, to more radicalized paradigms such as the construct that the vaccine is in some manner a gateway to taking the mark of the beast, and everything in between.
It is right for any follower of Christ to seek to understand even the most difficult of passages in scripture, including those that are apocalyptic or end of times in nature. Nonetheless, for this discussion, I want to focus on our personal responsibility to simply be good stewards over all that God has put in our care, including our physical bodies. As I shared earlier, I have personally taken this journey of stewardship over my own health and well-being.
The pages of Genesis declare that all of mankind is Imago Dei, made in the image of God. This terminology conferred value and dignity from day one of mankind, on the creative beings known as man and woman. Further, the Spirit-filled follower of Christ is reminded that they are the temple of God, indwelt by God himself. The New Testament teaches us to train to be found worthy, to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness, and to love God with soul, strength, and mind. Jesus weaves parables to teach his followers to invest our talents wisely, and to manage all that is in our care well. Still, somehow in our minds we apply to this every area of life and spirituality, except for the physical.The New Testament teaches us to train to be found worthy, to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness, and to love God with soul, strength, and mind. Click To Tweet
We fear and criticize the “experimental vaccines” while not taking the time to gather reputable and scientific medical information, and applaud experimental treatments in cancer, diabetes and other areas, delighted when they extend life or mitigate loss of life.
As wise children of God, we are called to discipline ourselves for godliness in such a way that we seek to understand science and scripture, medicine, and the benefits of good self-care. I choose to hold myself responsible not only for my personal relationship with the God who created and redeemed me, but also for how I care for this one life he has given me, and how I can within my capabilities maintain my health, so that I might be useful to others.
To vaccinate or to not vaccinate is a highly personal decision that each person should make as a part of their plan for overall health and well-being. Depending on your medical history, you should consider having a conversation with a trusted health professional. As a cancer survivor, my husband chose to have a discussion with the specific health professional that was knowledgeable of his medical history and concerns.To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is a highly personal decision that each person should make as a part of their plan for overall health and well-being. Click To Tweet
2. The Purpose of My Life is to Lead Others Toward Christ.
When it comes to whether or not to vaccinate, Jesus’ foundational command to love our neighbors is the very heart of the matter. While I stand firm in the truth that God has given each individual the freedom of choice to decide how they will care for their own health, our ultimate mission is to pour out our lives on behalf of the kingdom of Christ. No missionary would go into the mission field without ensuring that they would not carry disease to the very population that they sought to minister to, and we as representatives of Christ need to see our choices as those that are cohesive to living out a missional life.
I am certain that your sphere of influence looks much like mine. There are those who walk alongside you in the faith, those who have some curiosity about God, those who have no interest in or are angry at God, those who simply believe that God does not exist, and perhaps even a few who have never heard about God.
Throughout history, Christians with a deep desire to witness to Christ have been at the forefront of acting for the common good when it comes to the benevolence of caring for the sick and laying down their own personal agendas and priorities in the care and service of others. This is the mission field of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, and our choices to protect and care for others can have ripple effects across our own sphere of influence.No missionary would go into the mission field without ensuring that they would not carry disease to the population they seek to minister to. We need to see our choices as those who are living out a missional life. Click To Tweet
This is the mission field.
Drill down. This is the purpose of our lives.
Christ-follower, scientist, physician and director of the National Institute of Health, Francis Collins, expressed this sentiment: “It’s a source of great heartache for me as a person of faith to see in a circumstance where I would have hoped that people of faith would be rushing to try to help, that some of them seem to have adopted views that are actually accomplishing the opposite…”
This is not about optics.
To take the vaccine or not to take the vaccine is a personal matter, and yet one that can have missional implications.
Could there be contingencies and repercussions in either direction?
Without question, but the mission of the Christ-follower remains clear and undeniable: To love as we have been loved.To take the vaccine or not take the vaccine is a personal matter, and yet one that can have missional implications. Click To Tweet
3. My security is in Christ.
When the reality of the Covid pandemic settled with clarity in my understanding, I went to the one place that would bring me hope and comfort. I went to my knees in prayer, and I sought Jesus with the whole of my heart. In those early days, before there was enough knowledge to gain any credible understanding, I prayed the blood of the Lamb over the doorpost of my household. It was the one clear thing I felt the Spirit of God leading me to do.
Psalm 130:5 reads, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my trust.”
As Christians intent on somehow, in some small or great way, revealing the nature of Christ to the world around us, we must seek to diligently trust in his love for us, waiting upon him and resting in his word. Resting in his love energizes and equips us to love others and live in a manner that is settled down in Christ, echoing with Paul, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)We must seek to diligently trust in God's love for us, waiting upon him and resting in his word. Click To Tweet
I can choose to give way to the fear that fell upon me as I listened to the stories coming from the lips of my chiropractor, and we as the church can rest our eyes on tales told on every social media site, or we can spend time in scripture, look for credible voices above the din, and stay interwoven in the Spirit and purposes of God.
Our hope isn’t in taking a vaccine or not taking a vaccine, or for that matter, any medical course of treatment. Rather, like Paul, who surrendered his rights for the gospel, our hope is in the one true and living God, and that as we seek to honor him we might “by all means win some.” (1 Corinthians 9:23)
As Christians we bring the whole of our world before God in prayer, seeking and trusting him for supernatural intervention. We believe that God puts gifts, skills, talents, inspiration and knowledge into his created beings, and then energizes those attributes by his Spirit. We believe that he can steady the hands of the physician, and inspire the fingertips of the musician.
May we not stop short in trusting that God can do great and mighty things in the creative minds of the women and men in a lab coats who are seeking to fulfill their calling through beating back disease and demise.May we not stop short in trusting that God can do great and mighty things in the creative minds of the women and men in lab coats who are seeking to fulfill their calling through beating back disease and demise. Click To Tweet
More from Stacey
In this post, Stacey explores how we can make the most of our opportunities, even in season when we are wearied from the challenges of our current season.
Stacey joins us on the podcast for a conversation about women in church leadership, sharing her wealth of wisdom and personal experience.