What would you do if there were a major disaster that affected a large area of the country? How would you provide for your family or yourself if the food supply was interrupted or there was a widespread power outage for an extended time? Could you survive if the banks were shut down and you had no access to your money?
A survey from last year revealed that a stunning 55% of Americans believe that if a major catastrophe occurred, they would expect the government to take care of them, providing such basic needs as water, food and shelter. The same survey showed that 48% of Americans have no basic emergency supplies, 53% don’t have a 3 day supply of food and water stored in their homes, and 44% do not even own a first aid kit! In story after story, the news media has shown us overwhelming evidence of governmental failure and mismanagement in responding to recent disasters such as Hurricane Sandy & Katrina. As devastating as those tragedies were, their affect was limited to a relatively small geographic area. Could we really expect our already financially strapped government agencies to do a better job if multiplied millions turn to them for help?
Many people prefer to not think about possible disaster scenarios and just go along with their lives, believing that because nothing has happened so far, then nothing bad will ever happen… at least not in their lifetime. Christians tend to put a more spiritual spin on the same kind of thinking, saying that in lieu of basic plans, they are just “trusting the Lord.” But I think there’s a lot of confusion about what trusting in God means, especially in the context of a practical discussion like planning for the future.
My son, Ryan invited his girlfriend over to the house for the first time last Sunday afternoon. So, all week I made plans for her arrival. I gathered up my recipes for Ryan’s favorite snack foods and made a list. I checked what we had on hand and then went out and bought any missing ingredients. On Saturday, we scrubbed the kitchen, vacuumed, dusted, swept the deck, and put out the guest towels. On Sunday, we rearranged our entire day to make sure we were able to get the food prepared and everything done in time for her visit. You know why I did all that work? It’s because I believed Caylin’s word and then acted on it. She said she would come and I trusted her. That’s a very simple example, but it’s essentially what it means to trust the Lord… believing in and acting on what He says. When we apply that to making future plans, we need to ask, what does God’s Word say about the subject? All it takes is a quick scan of Proverbs to find an astounding number of verses about saving and being prepared. For example:
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has. – Proverbs 21:2
Go to the ant you lazy person. Consider her ways and be wise, who having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. -Proverbs 6:6-8
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. -Proverbs 22:3
The wise man saves for the future but the foolish man spends whatever he gets. – Proverbs 21:20
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. -Proverbs 21:5
Consider the agricultural communities to which the Proverbs were written. Their whole lives revolved around growing, gathering and storing for the future. There were no governmental agencies to save them, and no bail out if they didn’t plan. The ultimate consequence of not preparing for winter and beyond was starvation or death. Taking basic survival measures (then or now) isn’t a lack of faith in God to provide; Instead, the Bible commends it as wisdom. Scripture is full of admonitions to watchful and make preparations for what lies ahead. If we don’t follow plainly written instructions like these and others, what does that say about our faith? If we really believe Him, shouldn’t we be eager to alter our lives to match His directives? The truth is, on a human level, we do this all the time … We change our behavior for days, months or years because we believe the word of friends, family members or even complete strangers. Think about it… haven’t you taken the advice of someone you hardly know on a health issue, a new dietary regime, or a financial investment? Have you ever gone to a new restaurant, tried a new vacation spot, or bought something new based solely on the recommendation of a friend or the review of a stranger? How much more should we be willing to adjust our lifestyles based upon on the trustworthy Word of our God!! Of course, there is a careful balance to maintain. As I wrote last week, our stockpiles are never to be our source of security, but at the same time, having nothing in store for the future isn’t a sign of faith either… instead it might really be a sign of a lack of faith.
The principle I want you to walk away with today is one that goes much deeper than whether to prep or not. I really want you to consider carefully what following Jesus is all about. Trusting in the Lord isn’t complicated or mysterious. It simply means you believe what He said and act on it. He has given us His guidelines and commands for wise, and godly living, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to commit ourselves to make whatever changes are necessary to bring our lives into conformity with what He says on every topic or issue that concerns us. Simply put, belief is measured by action. If we really believe, we obey. As Christian author David Platt writes, “Jesus’ call to follow Him is more than an invitation to pray a prayer. It’s a summons to lose your life. … and find new life in Him.”
Jesus said, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:46-49