Does God help those who help themselves, or will He toss into the fire all those worried about stockpiling earthly goods?
You’ll find Christians who say both, some quite vehemently. But where is the truth? Is there such a thing as Christian preparedness, or should we all put our trust in the Lord that He will help us in our time of need? (photo source)
I remember a story a priest told once in a homily, about a man whose house was flooding. He was on the roof and praying for deliverance when a boat went by and invited him to come along. “Oh, no thanks, I’m waiting for God to save me!” he called.
He answered the same when the Coast Guard came to get him and when a military helicopter tried to rescue him.
After the water rose above his roof and he drowned, he asked God at the pearly gates why He didn’t answer the man’s fervent, faithful prayers.
God answered, “Who do you think sent the boat, the Coast Guard, and the helicopter???” He probably even rolled his Blessed eyes, right?
It’s a great party joke, but it also makes a point: we do not live in a vacuum, and we are not spiritual bodies only. We have physical bodies, and therefore God works through and speaks to us through the physical world. I do believe it’s very possible that He would smile upon efforts to take care of our physical bodies (and others) through the act of “being prepared.”
But of course, there is a catch.
As with most good things, we can have too much of a good thing. If we do, we can enter into preparedness sin.
A reader asked a thought-provoking question back when this preparedness series began, about God’s call to or away from the act of preparing. (Read her excellent and in-depth question here.) My answer, in part, was as follows:
In my opinion, we can have a balance between the two extremes – I don’t like the idea of spending hours each month making sure I have all the necessary everything for a major disaster to keep my family alive for a year. I do, however, think it’s prudent and wise in many ways, and I pray that the Lord agrees, to stock up on things that we use, have more than 3 days worth of food in the house – because we can! – and maybe have some water set aside.
As a Christian, it is definitely an interesting question: Jesus talked A LOT more about NOT storing material things and also about “being prepared” in our souls for the end. I’m sure, like many things in this world, preparedness can become an idol. It’s a wise reminder for all of us to make sure that we (1) don’t let it do so and (2) do not live in a spirit of fear, regardless of our level of preparedness.
KS readers also had quite a conversation about the Biblical basis of preparedness (or NOT) in the reader comments starting here.
Scripture Verses About Preparedness
- Noah prepares for flood: Genesis 6-7
- Joseph stores grain to save Egypt: Exodus 37, 38-45:1-8
- Jesus’s parable of the 10 well-prepared virgins: Matthew 25:1-13
- The prepared woman in Proverbs 31 (Amy details the connections between Proverbs 31 and preparedness very well)
- Proverbs 6:6-8, Proverbs 21:20
Does the Bible also say that we should simply trust in the Lord for our daily bread and never stockpile?
29 yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these.
32 It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all.
33 Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.
34 So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’
The spirit of Christian preparedness, then, cannot be one of fear for our earthly lives, but one of taking care of our bodies so that we can serve others as best we can. If we are weak, starving or ill during a disaster, who will serve the corporal, and much more importantly, the spiritual needs of the community?
Others Speak Out
Amy of Homestead Revival has been doing an amazing preparedness challenge the last few months at her blog. She addressed her call from God to begin prepping in a really lovely post: The Spiritual Aspect of Prepping Biblically. I strongly encourage you to visit that page and browse her prepping basics posts as well.
She also recently guest posted on Should a Christian Practice Food Storage?
I have been impressed with the blog Preparedness Pro lately, and this post is no exception: Charitable Preparedness is a very honest and real challenge to all of us to care for not only our own families, but our fellows in community.
If you prefer listening, you want to bookmark the Christian Homekeeper podcast, Sylvia’s site with weekly radio show, Thursdays at 7 p.m. CST focusing on homemaking skills. She is talking extensively in the coming months about the importance of including wholesome, natural, locally grown, organic foods in our every day lifestyles as well as our preparedness plans.
And a lovely reader story:
This is perhaps not the most reliable emergency-preparedness option, but especially for those of us who don’t own a small farm:), perhaps we should consider the value of community? I am reminded of a huge snowstorm years ago which shut down our whole city for at least three days. It was an early-season storm, and breaking branches knocked out transformers everywhere…plus the three feet of snow made roads impassable for almost everyone…
While many of us had camp stoves, one of our neighbors invited us all up for meals every day. We cooked oatmeal and other yummy things on our campstoves for the 5-6 families who came. It’s one of my favorite memories!
From Mrs. Brown, a sweet lady and friend-of-a-friend who talked with me a bit about her three decade pursuit of proper, healthy, manageable preparedness:
I am NOT a professional storage expert…just a mom.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many as you probably know, are trying to be wise stewards by being prepared to care for themselves, their families, and their community.
My decision to store and develop some needed skills came after I became a mother. I was reading about WWII and the holocaust and was deeply moved by accounts of people who survived that time and read of their inability to feed their families. At that time fats and oils were one of the highest price commodities on the black market. I realized then, that I had NO idea what was realistic when it came to storing supplies that could make a difference in the survival of my family.
On Christian Preparedness
Gratefully I can share this wealth of information with you, from Dianna of the Healthy Living Market in Mora, MN, who presented at her church:
Other proactive steps we can take towards “preparedness:”
1. Declutter your home. Extra supplies require space. Remove from your home what you don’t love or use. Find “homes” for everything that remains in your home.
2. Simplify cleaning and laundry supplies to be “earth friendly”, which are often concentrated, thereby taking less space, and non-contaminating to the earth, which is God’s gift to us.
3. Begin recycling: Actively be a good steward of the things you buy and use. Buy second-hand; buy recyclable, reducing and/or eliminating the use of “stuff” made from non-renewal resources.
4. Incorporate whole foods into your diet – get used to healthier eating which is much more economical to store than prepared foods.
5. Build a networking system: Be in “community” (relationship) now. We can’t go it alone.
6. Pursue emotional and spiritual health – God has a job for us to do!
7. Walk in peace: Let the peace of God rule your heart and mind (Colossians 3:15) and fear not!
Disaster preparedness is not about “hoarding,” which brings the connotation of selfishly taking care of only yourself. It is about planning ahead and taking responsibility for yourself and your family, living as a responsible Christian, with the purpose of bringing honor to the name of Christ.
I know there are more than two sides to this story. As usual, I’m squarely in the middle, believing that we can be prepared as part of our Christian duty here on earth, but also that we don’t need to devote our lives to the practice.
Soul first, Body second. Just like with eating real food.
What do you think? Is there a Christian call to be prepared for physical needs, or only spiritual?
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