Monday, March 8, 2010

Is Prepping Biblical?


After reading lots of preparedness, food storage, and survival websites and blogs the question began to form in my mind - Is prepping (short for preparedness) actually Biblical? Is prepping equivalent to not trusting God to take care of you? How much prepping is too much?



In the poll results from last week, apparently no one thinks that prepping is a waste of time or unbiblical. Zero. Not one person voted for these two categories. I'm assuming some may have thought about it, but hesitated since so many others had voted differently. If you were one of them, don't feel bad. Following the crowd isn't always right. 


On the other hand, most felt that prepping was a good idea, just in case (21 votes), and most are storing 3-6 months worth of food and supplies (26 votes). A few go-getters are able to stash away an entire year's worth (6 votes). Wow! Truly an accomplishment.


And prepared for what? People prep for all kinds of reasons. In case of a recession, a depression, an economic crash, a job loss, an illness, natural disasters, wars, famines, and the list goes on.


But what is Biblical when it comes to being prepared? Wouldn't it be good to know what God thinks and not just what we think? Then you can choose to proceed or not proceed with confidence.




Actually, we can see examples of both in the Bible. 


Examples of Preparedness in the Bible


Joseph, after being sold into slavery and eventually imprisoned in Egypt, rises to second in power over all the country. Why? Specifically, God wanted to use him to save the Hebrew people from a seven year famine that was going to affect the people of several nations. He actually had Joseph save extra grain during seven good years in order to prepare for the severe famine that was to come for the next seven years. You can read about this in Genesis 37 through the end of the book of Genesis.


In the New Testament (Matthew 25:1-13), a symbolic example of being prepared spiritually is given in the parable of the Ten Virgins. Five of the virgins didn't prepare, they didn't have extra oil for the long wait, and as their lamps grew dim, they realized they needed more. The other five had prepared and were not hindered in meeting their bridegroom. Although there's a lot more to this passage, I'm really summing it up fast in order to point out that the parable, although symbolic, appears to approve of being prepared with supplies. I think this is especially true if you have been blessed with the time and resources to prepare and instead of squandering them, you wisely do so!


Examples of Not Preparing in the Bible


There are really more examples of people not being prepared in the Bible than actually those that were prepared, but I wonder if this is because it wasn't the norm while preparedness was more of a way of life during Biblical times. Food wasn't readily available at a supermarket, so people had to think way ahead for food supplies. Hunting, fishing, raising their own food, storing wheat... this was normal. Walking in faith that God would provide at the very moment of need was not!


In Exodus 16, God provided for the Hebrew people in the wilderness for forty years, by giving them manna and quail each day. While he brought them to Egypt by having Joseph store grain, He brought them out of Egypt by providing for them one day at a time.


In I Kings 17: 1-16, we see how God provided for Elijah in two different ways, but both were at the exact moment he needed food. First, God sent ravens to bring him bread and meat each morning and evening. Later, He sends Elijah to the house of the woman in Zarephath and she makes a bread cake for him each day until the famine is over from a jar of flour and oil that God miraculously kept filled. 


Jesus sent the disciples out in Matthew 10 without any provisions but the clothes on their back. He instructed them to find those willing to provide for them in return for preaching and healing the sick. 


I could go on with more examples, but I think you get the point. 


In both categories, God provided. Sometimes God provided in advance. Sometimes He provided at the moment of the actual need. But it all came from Him. And it still does! 


Unfortunately, many who store up food and supplies miss this point and end up becoming fearful, stingy, and paranoid. (Yes, those are ugly words, but sin IS ugly!). However, we can prepare Biblically and maintain a godly attitude.


Because I don't like super long posts (and this one is long already), I'll talk more about prepping with the right way another day. Please know that I hope this doesn't come across "preachy". I'm writing this as much for myself as I am for you, the reader! I've needed to work this out in my own mind for a long time. 


If you will, share your own thoughts on this subject. It might help someone else work it out in their own mind! And don't forget the new poll - "Tell Me About Your Homestead".



29 comments:

  1. I have been having similar thoughts on this same topic--can't wait to see what else you have to say! I guess I've come to the conclusion that it is both prudent and Biblical to prepare as much as possible for the future, but without an attitude or fear or hoarding. Also, knowing that there is no way we can prepare for everything, and that our journey here is temporary, we can have the peace of knowing that we don't have to get hung up on thinking we need to survive every possible scenario, because we will all move on to heaven one way or another at some point in life. But at the same time, I think we need to use the brains and resources God has given us to make wise decisions regarding the future and to the best that we can. Oh...another example for your list--God had Noah prepare the ark! I just recently discovered your blog and I love it! We, too, are getting into the homesteading lifestyle and I feel so much more satisfied as a woman, wife, and mother!

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  2. My thoughts regarding preparedness and the Bible....

    God is providing what we need now in the form of a good-paying job to purchase food (with contract talks later this year-ack!), a bountiful garden with adequate rain and sun, land to plant that garden, time to tend that garden, and knowledge to store the abundance. We're prepping with the blessings that God has already given us. Yes, He wants us to rely on him for our needs, but I think he also wants us to give our prayers wings and make good use of what is available to us. None of us would say that "God will provide" and use that as an excuse to lay in bed all day, not go to work, not cook, not get dressed, not garden. God has already provided and it's up to us to be good stewards of the gifts he's given us.

    I think the question of whether it's Biblical depends on the intentions that you have when you begin prepping. I have more than a year's worth of food put up, and I do it so that I can share with my brother, niece and parents. And the little girl across the road: I won't stand by and watch her starve should hard times come. (Believe it or not, I've been scolded for suggesting that I'll share my food stores.)

    BUT if your thoughts are that the person who controls the food controls the population and that's your reason behind prepping, I don't think God would approve of that. I don't think He wants us to run up debts in order to get those supplies. Nor do I think He would approve of hoarding cheap food now in order to charge exorbitant prices later and take advantage of a terrible situation.

    I think it's a very fine line preppers walk, but that one's intentions tell the tale.

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  3. I'm so glad you're touching on this from a Christian perspective. I couldn't agree more and I look forward to visiting so that I don't feel alone in this pursuit. I don't think there's another person in my neighborhood who's preparing for tomorrow let alone next year. It feels very lonely. Most in the "church" aren't....I mean after Y2K, who wants to even suggest it. For me it's become a lifestyle, so it doesn't feel weird. Although lately I've felt more of an urgency.

    When we got our laying hen chicks last August....as anyone knows who's ordered birds...you can't have just one...you have to order 25! I convinced my Honey that the extra eggs would go to families out of work. We've been blessed to have secure work and now we're blessing those who are hungry. It's small, but it's food that nourishes. I'd like to teach them now how to grow their food. I have extra seed and if they would plant a garden they could have my seed. But....many are just waiting....and waiting.

    I think one of the best things we can do along with preparedness is to teach! I guess that's what we do on our blogs.

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  4. Ladies, I love, Love, LOVE this conversation! Good points from everyone!! I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm looking forward to exploring this subject further at Homestead Revival.

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  5. If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.

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  6. One memory from my childhood that really stands out has to do with food storage. A family in our town lost everything in a house fire. They had to move in with the wife's mother and start rebuilding from nothing. When we heard about the fire, I remember my dad heading down to our storage room with boxes and loading those boxes with jars of food that he and my mom had canned only weeks before. Then he gathered us kids up and took us with him as he went to give this family the food. My brother asked why we were giving away our food, and my dad responded by saving that the Lord had blessed us and that we needed to share with those in need. I hope I never forget the gratitude that family showed when they took the boxes of canned food. I agree with what Andrea said: God is providing now so we can be prepared for later. If we cannot provide for our own families, how can we provide for others? I think we need to be prepared so we can help others.

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  7. This subject has been a struggle for me in recent months. God is sovereign, and doesn't promise us tomorrow. For the tomorrows we are given, He will provide all of our needs. But, if He is providing more than is needed now, what do we do with the overflow... save or share? I'm sure there is a balance, it's just hard to find for this "black or white" thinking gal.

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  8. Thanks for mentioning these scriptures. They are some of the same ones I've been looking at as I do my stockpiling. I guess the main point is to not do things in fear.

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  9. I love this discussion!!!!! I agree with the other commenters. I believe God gave us common sense. I believe he blesses us so that we can bless others. God knows what is in our heart. If we prepare because we don't trust, then we aren't being obedient because we are to put our trust fully in Him. If we prepare out of greed, then our hearts aren't in the right place. I think sometimes even Christian people use "God will provide" as an excuse to be frivolous and wasteful. I don't think God ever intended that. Thanks for allowing me to share my view point. Blessings to all!

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  10. I agree with Andrea-God knows our hearts and minds, even when we try to fook ourselves. If we are being good stewards with what we have, whether that be to store up food, or barely get by, then I believe God will take care of what we don't already have. If we aren't being good stewards, He may still choose to provide, but He may not.
    I struggles with my own motives on this issue. We live on one acre that has a creek flowing along the eastern border. In AZ that's rare. The house is old and too small for our needs, but because of zoning issues we can't add on w/o taking one fourth of the house down first. We are buying 2 acres nearby that we can build a house on. We'd have the house we want, with more land for animals and gardens, but not a creek. I debated with myself if it was wise to give up the water, then if it was wise to feel like I needed to manage my own food sources. My conclusions are that the water can dry up no matter what, and that if I trust God, it doesn't matter if I control my food sources or not.
    However, to drag this out some, I'm not being a good steward of my health by continuing as a consumer in this market style. We also don't want to continue participating in a system that does not treat its animals well, nor the soil that the fruits and vegetables and grains are grown in. That feels wrong to us, so we will do what we can to opt out.
    I did finally reconcile my doubts and fears, by the way.

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  11. Kelly, that would be a tough choice. We just found out our own property has a natural spring that is flowing above ground (It has so much brush and a small canyon, we had never seen it before). That would be an awesome resource is a huge crisis. But we've put the house up for sale. Tempting, but like you, I don't think the Lord wanted me to base my decision to move on one thing. Thanks for sharing some good thoughts.

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  12. I've been in the process of decluttering/organizing/remodeling my house and have been reading your blog and loving it! I've started thinking about the 'what if?' situations that could happen and realizing just how unprepared I would be. A mildly alarming fact I'm attempting to remedy. But anyway, while throwing away a bunch of old papers I came across an old church work page with Proverbs 21:20 on it and I immediately thought of this blog post! "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has." I felt it was to applicable not to share. :D

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  13. Maggie, What a great verse! Thanks for sharing it with us! Hope your house renovation goes well!

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  14. This subject has been weighing on me as of late and I have been feeling the urge to stock piling an emergecy pantry. Last year I made sure to go through our medical and personal hygeine stash, but I since have had my second child and now the matter has started becoming a concern to me again. I am very glad to see this discussion because I have been feeling at a loss as to where and how to start getting my houshold prepared for any possible scenarios. And just as a previous lady mentioned, who is there really to bring this subject up with...?
    anyhoo, thank you ladies for the info and insight!

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  15. I do agree that being prepared is showing soundness of mind..to a point. That being said, Jesus also told his followers to "observe the birds" the "lillies of the field",noting that God provided and accounted for thaem how much more for his faithful. Also Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom, then other things would be provided. I guess it's a matter of faith,reasonableness, balance and each must do according to their concience and trust that the Almighty will give each one of us the opportunity to show our trust in his mighty hand

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  16. Anonymous: When the question of food storage arises in regard to it being Biblical I think of Joseph collecting grain from all the countrymen for 7 years to get them thru the 7 year famine. It certainly isn't in opposition to God's word to be prepared, but our trust must always remain in Him to provide no matter what. To me that means that when I live somewhere that makes it very difficult to stockpile food, I don't live in fear over not having it. Also, when I move and do have room to store extras that I don't become complacent because of my "stuff". It may be that He chooses to have us set enough aside to be able to share with others in an emergency and thus model the spirit of giving and have opportunity to share the gospel.

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  17. Thank you for this post. :) Very good insight.

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  18. I just came across this, and have been struggling with being prepared from the Christian perspective, as a Baptist preachers wife. I feel like people have adapted the attitude that the Lord will provide, or the rapture will happen before it gets really bad and we won't be here. But lately, as I read more about depressions and dust bowls, I can't help but wonder if those people felt the same way. I don't want tone canning thistle to feed my family (done during the Dust Bowl). I guess I look at it from the perspective of this feeling being a prompting from the Lord to take care of my family.

    Great post!

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    1. Amanda,
      I understand your struggle with this subject. I've been there, too! But in the end, I felt it was presumptuous to assume God would provide if I did nothing with the resources He placed before me in advance. I think many people claim they are placing their faith in God when they don't store up some amount of food in advance of a need, but really, I wonder how many of them are really placing their faith in the grocery store and the "American System"?

      I've also found that as I prepare and learn to garden, raise my own chickens for eggs/meat, and tend to our goats, I have to place a LOT more faith in the Lord to provide and because of the work involved to acquire our food. The "unknown" factors are much greater - will there be enough rain? will there be bugs this year? Etc. I am much more appreciative of the food before me. I don't take it for granted nearly as much as I did when I bought everything from the store.

      Hope you find your way in this journey! Many blessings as you continue to serve the Lord!
      Amy

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  19. I just stumbled across your fantastic blog by following a link from "My Country Blog of This and That." I truly appreciate this particular "essay" and the comments that followed

    I am a Southern Baptist pastor and a prepper, to boot. I've guided my family toward a more self-sustaining lifestyle. Storing up food and supplies is part of that lifestyle. It's not so foreign, really. Indeed, it was the way that I grew up. My family home was full of cabinets stocked from my father's 1.5 acre garden. We raised beef and hogs, hunted for meat, and heated our home with wood. We were very self-sustaining, especially since my dad never earned over $25,000 a year in his entire life.

    Many people who claim to be "walking in faith" that God will provide are not truly doing so, I fear. What I am truly afraid of is that so many people of faith tend toward the lazy side. I have led many families in my church to move toward self-sustainment. We even have a small group called the "Homesteaders!" It's awesome!

    ANyhow, I greatly appreciate your blog. I have to dig some more and find items of interest. I'm just getting into blogging about my little farming adventures.

    Thanks for your refuge of information.

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    1. Your comment is very encouraging! Thank you! It's good to hear a pastor encouraging his flock in this way. May the Lord bless you and your "Homesteaders" group!

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  20. Amy, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I feel that God gives us all these feelings of storing up for a reason. Even more so now in this present time. ABout 2 years ago God blessed us with some land. I have never felt so strongly that he did so bc he knew we would work the land to provide for our family and friends. Thanks so much for your post. I look foward to reading more. I also like what one reader wrote about reminding us of the story of Noah.

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  21. Thanks for your posts about prepping Biblically. Some of our family has begun prepping beyond what I consider 'normal''. (storing the garden harvest for the winter is my idea of 'normal') This has tended to send me into a fearful state of mind wondering what was going to happen in the future, and what would happen to my family. You have helped me think of it in terms of #1 faith & #2 balance. Do what I can with what God has given me now, trust Him for what I lack & the future, and to bless because I have been blessed. Now I have a way to look at it without the fear. Thanks :-)

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  22. I stumbled across your blog searching for Biblical Christmas celebration ideas. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to put together this blog. I've been asking God to show me how to manage my house, my marriage, my child and my heart lately and He is using your blog to encourage and inspire me. Thank you.

    A fellow follower of Christ,
    Lindsay

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  23. Hi, Is there a way to send you an email?

    Thanks,

    Becky Leski
    Heritage Creek Farm
    Abbeville, South Carolina

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  24. Thank you for this post. I have been feeling the need to become prepared, for what I don't know, but still feel the need. The thought of God's opinion has been a source of conflict. I think God is using this to clear things up for me. Again, Thank you.
    Jeannie

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  25. I am so glad I found this site. I to have struggled with the thought of prepping for hard times is biblical. I have stored about a year or more food and share with my daughter and her family as they have been through times when they couldn't make a house payment. I also work in the food ministry and see people coming in for food that are not needy and hit every church around for food. But this is not for me to question. We give just as willingly knowing this. We have neighbors that are blind to what is going on around us and do not attend church. I have already had one neighbor that started out storing and then quit and used up her storage and told me that she will just come to my house for food. That in the Bible is lazy, because she is capable of growing her on food but decided it was to much trouble. I told her that my family came first and she needed to stock her own food again. This type of person would be last on my list as I would give to the ones that I know are needy first as we have elderly people in our neighborhood. I try to pray about my food storage first before buying as I want it to be from the Lord as to what and how I am to prepare. My fear is in this world we now live in, it will be hard to share without someone coming back to kill you for what food you do have. We will have to leave this in God's hands to protect us from the evils of this world as we try to help others.

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Thank you for visiting Homestead Revival™! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation by leaving your comments. "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29

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