A lot of folks, Christian and non-Christian alike, have questioned whether trying to be more prepared contradicted my claim that I have faith in God. Basically, whether preparedness and Christianity are compatible points of view. Most of the time they say something along the lines of:
If you truly trust in God you would trust in Him to provide for you in disasters too.
For those who are familiar with the Bible, they will generally toss out a Biblical reference like this one:
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?
However, few will carry on to the very next verse:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
In the context of verse 27 it becomes pretty clear (to me anyway) that Jesus was not encouraging us to lay around and wait to be fed and clothed. He was just pointing out that worry and stress accomplish nothing. Worry and stress, we know today, not only won’t add any time to our lives they steal time away in the form of any number of physical ailments.
A few verses later Jesus says:
…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What I believe that He is saying here is that we, as Christians, need to make God our first priority; that we need to focus on him rather than fancy clothes or fine foods. He is talking about our priorities and where they should be.
Besides that, the Bible is full of examples of preparedness in action. Of course, when this topic comes up Noah is typically brought up but there were others including Joseph (of the fancy coat) who counseled Pharaoh (interpreting his dreams) and helped Egypt prepare for the famine to come by storing up food during the times of plenty (Genesis 41).
The book of Proverbs has several passages that would encourage being prepared:
The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.
The New Testament has fewer verses (that I know) that encourage preparedness other than spiritual. However there are numerous passages that guide us to take care of our families and provide for their needs. To be watchful for the difficult times to come.
From this, I don’t see where there is any conflict between preparedness and my faith. As long as it doesn’t become my “god,” it doesn’t become the focus of my life. For me, the challenge will be how to balance charity and the clear directive to love my neighbor against preserving my own supplies for those who are entrusted to my care…
I pray I never have to make those decisions and if I do, I hope I will have the courage and strength to follow His will and not my own.