The other day I went into Walgreens to pick up some pictures for Amy. After I paid for the pictures, the sales clerk said, “Here is your change, and be well.” I thought to myself, “Well, that’s weird that someone told me to ‘be well.’” But then it happened again just yesterday when I went to pick up a prescription. At the end, the pharmacist said to me, “Be well.” Again, it sounded really odd to me.
Now, I figured out that this is a marketing slogan used by Walgreens and that all employees are expected to say that to customers. But it is an odd phrase to end an interaction. We are used to things like, “Thank you for coming” or “Goodbye” or “See you later” or “Have a good day.” As I thought about some more, as I was wondering what they really meant by when they said “be well.” Do they want me to be well physically? Mentally? Emotionally? Spiritually? Holistically?
Now, the thought of “being well” isn’t alien to me as it is the language that pastor’s use to describe their health. We have a thing called the “Wellness Wheel” that we are to use to stay balanced and healthy. As chair of our Synod’s Candidacy Committee, we use the wheel to help evaluate and guide our candidates. I get the concept of “being well.”
But then, the following Bible verse from Ecclesiastes popped into my head. Ecclesiastes 8.12: “Though sinners do evil a hundred times and prolong their lives, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they stand in fear before him.” So I did some digging and found the following verse from Jeremiah, chapter 7: “But this command I gave them, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk only in the way that I command you, so that it may be well with you.’” Jeremiah 7:23
For the Bible, being well means abiding with God. Being well means having a foundation of life that rests solely on the God who has created us, redeemed us, and sustains us. With God has our foundation and rock, we can “be well” out in the world, even when life is tough and we are suffering. Because we all know that life isn’t perfect and we aren’t perfect. But through our faith, we know that we will be well because our Savior Jesus Christ walks with us and that things will be ok. We will be well.
I might be tempted the next time I go to Walgreens and they tell me to “be well” that I might say, “I already am.” I am because I abide in the love and grace of a God who loves me, forgives me, and saves me. For that I can say, “Thanks be to God!” Amen