Brazilians have a saying. “Having health, we have it all.” Aside from not being true, like most people, they don’t seem to take care of their health much better than anybody else. Physical health is important, but most people, be they Brazilians, Americans, or some other nationality, don’t think about it until they’ve lost it.
The American Society of Travel Agents conducted a survey of travelers and tourists and discovered that “very few take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from the threat of disease abroad. According to the survey, of the 58 million Americans who will venture beyond U.S. borders this year, only 19 percent seek travel health advice from a health-care professional before embarking on an overseas trip.”/1
These thoughts are on my mind as I prepare a North-American friend to visit us in September.
It also reminds me that even fewer take spiritual precautions before they travel.
That’s true in literal terms. Because I’m fairly well connected, a number of Brazilian brethren call me to ask about the church in other countries. Usually the night before they or their loved one travels.
“My daughter arrived in France last week, and we’d like to know about the location of the church, if there is one, in the city where she is.”
I often want to say, “Brother, you have known about this trip for weeks or months. You took care of buying airline tickets, arranging hotels or lodging, all the details of the physical aspect of her trip. Why did you wait until the last minute to consider how to keep her in touch with her spiritual responsibilities?”
But I keep my mouth shut and find out what I can to serve them.
Taking spiritual precautions is needed not only for literal trips, but for life itself, often considered as a journey. So says Peter:
“If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth” (1 Peter 1:17, NASB).
Then later he says, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul” (2:11, ESV).
Life is a journey. Nothing profound about that. But it’s a journey with an all-important destination. The key thing about this journey is to prepare properly, so that we might reach the right destination.
To prepare properly, we must know God as Father and obey him as Sovereign. And avoid certain ports.
Let’s revise that Brazilian saying. “Having God, we have it all.”
Most people don’t think of taking health precautions when they travel. Nor spiritual precautions.