In my last post on food storage and prepping, I looked briefly at the question of whether or not prepping is biblical for the Christian believer. It wasn't difficult to make an argument for either position. And my personal conclusion has been that God provides in all circumstances, sometimes before an "event" and at other times during and after a crisis.
Photo Credit: Chris Blakeley
So how do we prepare biblically so as not to steal God's glory and make it all about our own efforts? What is the correct way for a Christian to prepare?
It is important to recognize that while food storage is a physical act, there is a spiritual side to it as well, even for the unbeliever, whether they acknowledge it or not. Today, I will address the spiritual aspect and hopefully you will see that this decision to prepare is not without our faith being placed somewhere.
Acknowledge God Is In Control
God is sovereign and knows all that has, is, and will happen. And not only does He know what the future holds, He's in control of it. Obviously, we do not. Therefore we must remain humble and acknowledge that we do not know the future and we should not scare others into storing food. We can advise and graciously comment on our own decision to prepare, but we should never become prideful, arrogant, or unkind in our discussions with others on food prepping.
"Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."
- James 4:13-17
It would be easy to look at that last line and think this is talking about preparing. But actually, it is about our behavior! Remaining humble and gracious to others. That is the entire theme of James 4.
When an unbeliever refuses to acknowledge God is in control, their hearts eventually turn to a mentality of "survival of the fittest". Or the most prepared. Or he who has the bigger gun. Just like everything else in life, if we remove God from the equation, things turn ugly very quick. I don't think many preppers start out with this attitude, but Satan will use whatever we make as our god - and if it's a faith in our food storage and survival skills, he'll use it!
Photo Credit: Chiot's Run
God loves us and wants to take care of us. Therefore we do not need to run around frantically trying to "hurry up" and pull together supplies we think are necessary. And we don't need to go into debt in order to obtain survival items. We will not exit this world one second sooner or later than God has sovereignly designed.
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
- Matthew 6:25-34
When and if a need arises, God will provide where we are lacking if we have been faithful with the time and resources He has already given us. (Though we may find ourselves surprised in how He chooses to provide!)
Photo Credit: Chiot's Run
Be Faithful With What God Provides
It doesn't matter if we are talking food storage or evangelism, God wants us to be faithful with whatever He gives us in this life. In fact, being a good steward is one of the hallmarks of a believer. This means that we will use our money wisely on life's necessities as a priority and then on our pleasures.
I humbly submit that a lot of Americans have it the other way around. I think it is very strange that one is considered wise and affluent in our society if they have a savings account, but foolish, silly, and perhaps weird if they have a food storage. Don't think so? Perhaps that's because you hang out with bloggers like me. Try going down to a local movie theater on a Friday night and asking people about this and see what they think!
If God blesses us with resources, we should first tithe and provide for our basic needs. Second, work to meet our obligations or be debt free. And then third, work on some food storage and providing for para-church ministries, missions, etc. Our luxuries should come after these things.
I confess, I struggle with the "basic" aspect of this whole thing. I tend to think a want is a need and convince myself that something is necessary. Don't we all? (If you're reading this from a third world country, perhaps not, but then most third world citizens don't have computers readily available to read this!) It's not a neat and tidy package, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be characterized by being faithful stewards. (See Matthew 25:14-30 )
Give God The Glory
Anything we do, should be done as unto the Lord, for His glory. Including prepping. We need to constantly reflect on this and check our hearts to be sure that our motives are right, to listen to the Holy Spirit, obey His direction in regards to storing provisions, and thanking Him regularly for providing. And might I add that we need to voice this thanksgiving to our children so that they don't grow up with only half a picture of what our food prepping is all about.
"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
- I Corinthians 10:31
"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father."
- Colossians 3:17
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, (A)as for the Lord rather than for men,"
- Colossians 3:23
Prepare To Share
All preparations should be made with the intent to share with the less fortunate, our neighbors who are truly in need, and the vulnerable in our society (elderly, orphan, widow, handicapped, physically infirm, etc.). There are plenty of examples in the Bible that speak to this, such as the story of Joseph that I mentioned last time. But the one that gets me every time? Matthew 25:31-46.
After reading this passage, there is no doubt in my mind that we must maintain our food stores with an open hand. This does not mean that we put aside wisdom in sharing, because it's also clear in the Bible that he who is able, but doesn't work, shouldn't eat! (I've been known to quote this to my children who are slacking in their chores as a reminder!).
"For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies."
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11
Since the spiritual aspect of prepping is something that is in one's heart, we cannot always know the intent of others. Be we can be honest with ourselves and know our own heart. We can align ourselves with Christ and walk in His Spirit. And we can proceed with our preparations with hope! Hope that in a time of crisis, He will use us as His instruments of love and righteousness and fill in the gaps where we are in need. What a blessing for everyone!
I am looking into a group called The Joseph Project. If anyone has information on this group, I'd love to know your thoughts. And if I find that it is worth passing on as a legitimate ministry opportunity, I'll definitely let you know.
Thanks to all who posted such wonderful comments on "Is Prepping Biblical?" You added greatly to the conversation. And if you didn't get to read their input, please go over and do so! Soon we'll talk about the physical aspects of prepping.