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Should Christians Be Serious Preppers?

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This is a difficult column to write.  It may earn me scorn from fellow conservatives who strongly trust in their hard-earned, stored provisions.  But, it is a subject that has weighed on my mind.  The question concerns Christians, not unbelievers.  Is serious “prepping” something Christians should do?  Prepping, as you may know, is the laying up of food, water, weapons, ammunition and other supplies for the event of future disaster, commonly referred to in the prepper community by the initials SHTF (“stuff” hits the fan).

There are Christian prepper communities.  According to one such Christian website entry:

The prepper sees the imminent collapse of the American dollar, hyperinflation, breakdown of society and the [disintegration] of the city infrastructure such as roads, transportation, telecommunication, water supply, electricity, gas, etc. They start storing food, water, batteries for survival, and even guns and ammunition for protection of their hoardings. Many are looking for lands to buy and so the prices of farmlands and rural acreages have been driven up tremendously. Preppers are increasing in numbers every day in America, so some have called it the Prepper nation. …

Most preppers are mainly concerned about their physical wellbeing during bad times and disasters, so they focus on stocking up food, drinks, batteries and other items that are required for survival. Some are buying gold, silver and other precious metals as hedges against the U.S. Dollar and economic collapse. Others go further by looking for farmlands and equipment for renewable energy such as solar and wind powered generators. All these kinds of preparation are highly essential when the Great Tribulation occurs, but there are other more important things to consider as well.

The piece goes on to express the importance of being spiritually prepared in Christ.  It admonishes us to not do our prepping out of fear.

The Bible tells us that God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts.  What seems wise and right to us is not necessarily so, because the only true wisdom is God’s wisdom.  The Lord is infinitely higher than we are, and our very limited minds cannot grasp the depth of the knowledge and wisdom of God, although as we seek His wisdom, He gives it to us, and we grow in it.  The world tells us there is wisdom in laying up provisions for bad times to come, and there are also examples in Scripture of this, as in God warning Joseph in Pharaoh’s dream to store grain before the famine in Egypt, and God advising Noah to build the ark and load provisions into it for the duration of the flood.  What else does the Bible say about this?

In Matthew 6:19-21 (KJV), Jesus says:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Further on in verses 25 and 31-34, Jesus continues:

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

… 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.  Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

That passage makes it clear that the Lord wants us to put our faith in Him alone.  Does that mean God does not want us to be serious preppers?  In defense of prepping, some might point to Proverbs 21:20 (NIV):

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

Is that an admonition to hoard, or more of a general comparison of the behavior of the wise man and the foolish man?  Proverbs is full of such comparisons of the wise and foolish and the Godly and wicked.

The Bible stresses the importance of work and the folly of laziness.  However, there is a big difference between hardcore prepping and laziness.  Just because some of us may not be serious preppers does not mean we’re lazy.  There are many of us who have thought about prepping but have little to no space for storing a lot of provisions.  Neither does everyone have enough money to spend on extra supplies, other than a little here and there, although even without much money, you could still build up quite a collection over time.

Is prepping in keeping with God’s instructions for us?  Not if you look to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6.  But, if we do choose to prepare, how much is enough?  Three to six months’ stockpile of food, water and other supplies?  How could we ever know how much we would need?  The answer is that we can’t know, and I believe therein lies the key to the whole issue.  I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with prepping, but as Christians, our faith must not be in our supplies or our ability to procure them.  God makes it clear that He wants to be the sole object of our faith and trust.  Seek Him first, and “all these things will be added unto you.”  All we have comes from Him.  “Unhealthy” prepping is when it becomes more important to us than trusting the Lord to know what’s coming and what we will need.

Psalms 37 is a marvelous chapter that contrasts the righteous with the wicked.  It declares that the man who trusts in God will be taken care of by the Lord in every way, but the wicked will quickly perish, even though for a time it seems that the wicked prosper.  In verses 23-25 (KJV), David writes:

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.  24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.  25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

The Lord knows what’s coming, and He knows what we will need.  He will give Christians the things we need when we need them.  I’m not advocating lying down and “doing nothing,” because I don’t believe prepping is a bad thing, but we must keep it in perspective.  While prepping can be a great help in certain situations, it is not what saves us or takes care of us.  Only the Lord does that, and while we may choose to be preppers, as Christians, we must always keep our focus on Him.

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