Is Preparedness A Lack Of Faith?
I was talking with “Molly” about the wisdom of being prepared for possible future disasters. During our conversation I stressed the importance of being ready spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Part of the being physically ready is having a full pantry of supplies, not just for your family but also surplus to share with others in the event of an emergency.
Molly preceded to read me the riot act on how I was not trusting God to take care of me, my family and other Christians. I was chastised for not believing God would provide.
After listening for a while I asked, “Do you recall when Jesus said, ‘Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?’” (Matthew 6:26) “Of course”, she replied, a bit annoyed, “this is exactly my point. God will take care of us. You have just proved my point.” I asked if she ever watched birds - how they fly scooping up bugs, looking for seeds and other crawling stuff to eat. Eagles and hawks look for fish, small animals and birds to eat. When they spot something they chase hard after the meal. I believe part of the illustration for us is birds don’t just sit on a branch waiting for food to be presented to them. They are active all the time. Yes, the Lord takes care of them, but only after “hard work”.
I directed her to the ReadyChristian study from the Christian Emergency Network, where Joseph advised Pharaoh to take 20% of the production and store it for the expected upcoming famine. I’m sure some residents complained as to why they should have part of their crop taken for a future event. What if it never happened? I then asked her the question, “Rather then preparing, couldn’t Joseph have just decided to trust God?” Molly responded with, “The Lord spoke to Joseph, and then he acted.” I added, in case you look at this as one example as an isolated situation consider the words of Solomon, “Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer” (Proverbs 30:25)
After a few more words Molly departed, still convinced I was holding a position of not trusting the Lord.
Often the issue lies with the choices we make. Paul wrote, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Most of us in the United States have far more than the basic necessities, food, shelter, water and clothing. When you watch a TV show about people buying a tiny house they are scaling back to minimum space and possessions, often to save money. However, often people rationalize God’s words of provision to justify thinking they can buy nice cars, have a larger home, a full closet of newer clothes, vacations and other nice things rather then allocating some funds to the “hard work” in becoming prepared for an emergency.
Most of us buy home insurance, either because a mortgage company forcers us to, or we see the wisdom in not bearing the loss in the event of a disaster. We take money we could spend today, and buy insurance instead. A Christian could look at the situation in one of two ways: not buying insurance and trusting God to protect my home, or by thanking the Lord He has granted me a surplus above my necessities, allowing me to make a decision to buy insurance to avoid a complete loss in the event of a fire or tornado. In my view Solomon’s words, “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Proverbs 22:3) apply.
Scripture says time and time again the Lord provides for people during distress, but only after obedience. The people received manna and quail in the dessert, but were told to collect only enough for the day and then a double portion before the Sabbath.
The Lord spoke to Elijah and said, “Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab: As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word." (1 Kings 17:1) Next, Elijah received instructions where to go, and he obeyed the Lord. During the time of drought he drank from a brook and was fed by ravens sent by the Lord.
Elijah was not the only person suffering as there was a great drought in the land. Later the Lord tells him during a confrontation he is not alone “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel--all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him." (1 Kings 19:18) Looking back, these 7,000 faithful people would have also gone through the same drought. Scripture is silent how they were persevered, but my theory is the Lord prompted them to take some action, like Elijah was prompted, and they obeyed.
Developing and acting on a preparedness plan accomplishes several goals. First, our families will be in a far better situation to withstand an emergency, long or short, local or widespread. Second, we will be provided with an opportunity to minister during emergencies.
Many people today look toward the FEMA to step in during an emergency, yet recent disasters have shown they often cannot arrive on day one. Depending on the event we will need to be ready to take care of others and ourselves for a time. Recently power was out for thousands for over a week, in Spokane Washington and northern Idaho, those who were prepared would have been able to minister effectively. Those who were not prepared focused only upon their own immediate needs.
Budgeting, and the spending of money, once you cover the very basic necessities, is a choice. As Solomon wrote, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” (Proverbs 21:20) Scripture clearly guides us to put some supplies away for a future need. Some may accuse you of having a hoarding mentality, but my view is preparation is accumulating supplies when they are plentiful and inexpensive for the future while hoarding is trying to get more than your share when things are scarce and in short supply.
During a major crisis desperate people will look for help. They will often look to FEMA, and possibly the Mormon Church who will likely be well prepared. When Christians take the step of being ready spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically then, and only then, will we have an opportunity to shine the light of Christ into darkness.
Take the FREE ReadyChristian and ReadyChurch training, and be ready to act on Peters words, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:13)