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I’m paraphrasing here, but Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) once said that it wasn’t the obscure parts of the Bible that troubled him, it was the parts that were plain and clear and that he knew he wasn’t abiding by.
Jesus taught people in two ways: in parables for those who were still on the spiritual fence, and plainly for those who could handle the truth.
One of the plainest verses in the New Testament is about what to do when you get the order from God to flee. Let’s look at it:
“Let no one on the housetop come down to retrieve anything from his house. And let no one in the field return for his cloak.” (Matthew 24:17-18)
Jesus says straight out what to expect and what to do. He doesn’t say “if you have time, go back and get what you need”, he tells us don’t even think about going back, not even for your coat.
So how does this plain-spoken warning from Jesus align with so-called Christian prepping? It doesn’t. A whole industry has grown up around “Christian end-time survival” that flies in the face of Jesus’ teachings on fleeing at a moment’s notice and with just the clothes on your back.
Jesus lived the last three years of his life on the run. He was constantly under threat of arrest, he had no possessions other than what he wore, and he never stayed for more than a few days in any one place. And yet so-called Christian preppers are, for instance, trying to sell you seeds that presumably you’re going to need more than a few days to plant, grow, and harvest. Or do you think God wants us to go on the run clutching an armful of potted tomatoes?
Let me be plain here. When things get really crazy over the next few years and the persecutions ramp up against those who won’t accept the “new normal” world order, you won’t be planting seeds, and if you do, you won’t be hanging around to watch them grow. You’ll be on the run, like Jesus, and the only thing you’ll be watching is your back to see who’s gaining on you. Whatever preps you’ve stockpiled you’ll have to leave behind for someone else. God will provide for you on the run, like he did for Jesus. But forget about bugging out to a fully-stocked and fortified bunker where you’ll be left in peace to ride out the coming purge. It ain’t gonna happen that way – not for you, and not for any real Christian.
Christian preppers are living in a fantasy world. Don’t fall for their lies. If you want to survive what’s coming, you’ll have to live like Jesus – ready to leave at a moment’s notice, constantly on the run, and traveling light. And while you’re on the run, you’ll be preaching and teaching and modeling the Word. The prepper lifestyle and the Christian-on-the-run lifestyle are dead opposite.
My advice on how to “prep” for what’s coming? Let me be plain-spoken, like Jesus: We need to do less stockpiling and more abiding by what’s in the Bible.
Let me say from the outset that I am not an anti-prepper. I believe setting aside some rainy-day funds or supplies is appropriate if you have children, elderly parents or others who depend on you for their daily needs. But if you’re a born-again with no dependents, like Jesus and Paul, then there’s no need to prep, and prepping is also not advisable.
For clear guidance on prepping, as in all things in life, let’s look at what Jesus did during his ministry years. Was there any evidence that he prepped or hoarded supplies or precious metals towards a future undefined breakdown of society or natural/unnatural disaster? None whatsoever. On the contrary, Jesus always advised his followers to be ready and willing to leave town at a moment’s notice, even without the shirt on their back, if necessary. That would be hard to do if you had a bunker full of food and supplies.
As Jesus told us, we’re to store our ‘treasures’ in heaven, not underground.
The sermon on the mount gives us a good example of Jesus’ approach to prepping. After he’d finished preaching, he realized that the attendees faced a long walk home on an empty stomach. A quick inventory of the available food on hand revealed they had just a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish. How was that going to satisfy the hunger of thousands of people? Undeterred by the seeming hopelessness of the situation, and knowing the people’s genuine need, Jesus did what he always did – he turned to God for help. And God, as always, delivered.
Now I’m not saying you should adopt the attitude that you should never worry about supplying for your own needs because God will always miraculously attend to them. We ask God to provide us “our daily bread”, and so he does, but he still expects us to do our part. The lack of food at the sermon on the mount event was an exemplary situation; the attendees ran out of food not because they were too lazy to work or too careless to bring anything with them, they just simply ended up staying longer than anticipated, so enraptured were they with hearing Jesus talk about the Kingdom. Also keep in mind that they faced extreme hunger that was health endangering; this wasn’t a simple case of a skipped meal. God miraculously intervened because there was a genuine need and insufficient resources, coupled with Jesus’ profound faith that he would provide for them.
But in our everyday lives, we still need to work (if we’re able to) to earn our keep. The apostles agreed that anyone in their ranks who could work and chose not to, should not be given free food and rent. This is a good reflection of God’s way with regard to satisfying our day-to-day needs. Anyone who is willing and able to work will always have their needs met, whereas those who are able to work but choose not to will likely experience hardship.
When you supply the needs of people who are able to work but choose not to, you’re not doing God’s will.
Another example of God’s “just-in-time” approach to prepping is when Jesus is asked to pay a tribute tax (a form of custom fee) for entering a certain territory. He didn’t have any savings other than, I guess, for the money that Judas Iscariot carried with him in his infamous bag. Jesus considered the tax an unfair charge, but knowing that he had to pay it if he wanted to enter the region, he came up with the required funds at a moment’s notice: he told one of his followers to go fishing, and that the fish he caught would have a gold coin in its mouth. The gold coin was of such a high value, that Jesus was able to pay the tribute tax for himself and for all of his followers present. This is one of many instances where Jesus paid our debts with God’s miraculous help.
The story of Jesus and the gold coin gives a clear indication of what God thinks of prepping and saving – he doesn’t advise it. If we’re willing to work and choose to work, we’ll always have enough ‘daily bread’ for our needs – not more, not less, just enough. If someone makes unreasonable and unforeseen demands on us that we’re unable to meet, God will miraculously supply our shortfall.
We know this is true both by Jesus’ example and by faith. Most of us have probably also experienced this personally. I certainly have.
Prep if you want, but Jesus wouldn’t, and I doubt you’ll be able to use your bounty should a disastrous situation arise. Better to share your excess wealth now with those who are unable to earn their daily bread. God will reward you and also provide for you, should the need arise.