At least since college I have received a flu shot every fall. When I was in college and while in the Navy, I had lined up with my peers waiting for a technician to grab my arm and shoot in a small dose of serum. In those years I rationalized those few seconds of pain would help me avoid a week of illness or worse.
Reading a few verses of the Bible every morning provides a similar inoculation, that helps me get through each day.
Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
— Psalm 119:104 (NRSV)
But sometime, perhaps after our children were born, I began getting my annual flu shot for other people. By avoiding bringing the flu home my children would be more likely to escape the flu. According to the Center for Disease Control about a hundred children die each flu season; some years less and others more. Now as a pastor, getting my flu shot each year helps me protect people I visit in hospitals and nursing homes from influenza.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their distress,
and to keep oneself unstained by the world. — James 1:27 (NRSV)
With all the concerns about viruses in the media, getting a flu shot is a small step most people can take to protect themselves, their families, and the people they meet each day.