There’s nothing like being prepared. When circumstances change, there’s nothing like looking over your shoulder and seeing those things that you have made ready for such a time as this.
The old motto of the Boy Scouts was “Be prepared”. It was a virtue drilled into the minds of each one of the young men who was a Scout.
It was the way of my grandparents, and probably yours. They stored food for the winter. They had salted meat. They built dairies. They worked small farms with livestock. They planned ahead for bad times. They stockpiled weapons, ammunition, tools, and barter-able goods. For them, it wasn’t merely a way of life; it was the way to survival.
Our own government preps. We own tons of stored food, medicine, military apparatus, money, and you name it.
Most people understand that much of life is about being ready for the unexpected.
I am a delivery driver for the worlds biggest small package delivery company, by vocation. Part of my job is to train other drivers how to be safe in a career of miles of driving in various conditions. One of the mottos we use to help drivers remember to prepare for surprise conditions while driving is “be prepared, expect the unexpected”.
It just seems to make sense, common sense, to prepare for the future, whatever it may hold. In fact, I would say that proper preparation for future unknowns could be considered virtuous. I might even propose that this prepping, the modern version of what our grandparents did, is not merely virtuous but Christian.
I think we can look at why prepping is virtuous and Christian at least two ways. Two Christian moral standards that include prepping are Christian stewardship and responsibility.
Stewardship is something that many of us are familiar with, especially when it comes to our gifts. Peter said, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:” (1 Peter 4:10, ESV) We are Biblically responsible to use our gifts to serve one another, as stewards of them.
It may be less familiar, but still recognizable to hear that we are also to practice good stewardship with all of God’s gracious gifts to us, even our money. Christ said, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.” (Luke 16:1, ESV) In this parable we should be careful to not read into it something other than the main point, but we can at least say that the things that are truisms used to illustrate the main point in the parable, are also generally accepted truths. In this one, being wasteful of possessions is considered wrong.
We are accountable for those things God has graciously given us. Whether it be our gift of teaching or our worldly possessions, God calls us to be wise and not wasteful. Sometimes being wise means storing those extra necessities for later use, especially in view of coming hard times. This is illustrated in Genesis 41 as Joseph saves Egypt by storing up grain during the good years for use in the lean years. Prepping is a Biblical concept that has been around a long time.
Not only are we to be good stewards, we are responsible for the well being of our families and even our communities.
“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, ESV)
That’s a pretty scathing indictment of anyone who would deny human responsibility in providing for his family. Can I ask, does that responsibility end with the normality of everyday life?
Unfortunately, some folks would answer, “yes”.
I have actually heard ‘preaching’ against prepping. Of course, to preach against something like prepping, there probably wasn’t much sermon prepping (pun intended). It’s hard to find Scripture that would condemn prepping as I have laid it out. The only way to do that is to build straw men and use unrelated texts to tear them down.
Most of the time preppers have machine guns, buried train cars full of ten ton of dried food, as well as an isolationist mentality, as far as some anti-prepper preaching is concerned. To hear some describe it, prepping is a denial of reality and living as though you can prep your family’s way through the Tribulation. That description on its own is far from reality.
Although there is definitely some major prepping going on in America, most of it is in small proportions. Very few people are storing up train cars full of food. That would be as impractical as it would be ignorant. Most preppers realize that it is only necessary to survive until the end of the next growing season. Most food doesn’t last long enough to get a family past ignorance when it comes to growing your own.
As far as guns and ammo, most of the prepping I see, and there is a lot, has nothing to do with outlasting some Great Tribulation. There is a huge fear of the encroachment of the Federal government driving much of the gun and ammo prepping. But even more so, for the prepper, it is equally important to protect your food, as it is to grow or store it. Although it is not preferable to use violence to protect ones livelihood, it may be necessary. There is no Christian principle or precept against this. In fact, in my opinion, this is covered by the 1 Timothy 5:8 passage. It is important to not only provide food or shelter for ones family; one is also responsible to provide safety.
Another objection I hear to prepping is that we are responsible for our neighbors, not just our own families. I would agree with this sentiment but would qualify it.
First of all, any good prepper knows that an isolated family will be easy pickings for the panicked public. Prepping and its product, survival, can only be successful in community. Large groups of people practicing stewardship are the only way to success, all things considered. So this objection is really another straw man.
Secondly, how can we be responsible for our neighbors if we are not preparing. I may be responsible when it all goes down, but if I am caught empty handed then my feelings of responsibility amount to naught. That part of the objection is self-defeating.
Finally, there is always this argument against prepping that includes some variation of God’s sovereignty. ‘We should trust God. God is sovereign and in control. He has promised to take care of our needs’ (clothes and food), some might say.
Well, God accomplishes all sorts of things solely by his sovereign will. Most of the time he uses means to accomplish the ends. He elects people to salvation, but he sends people to preach the gospel. He sets up governments to protect good and punish evil, but he uses men and women to run governments and civil agencies. God decrees certain circumstances to occur; yet he expects us to do our part inside of those circumstances to accomplish his desire. Part of that desire is our perseverance. We live on because he decrees it, and because we continue to live.
Our decision and implementation of plans to persevere are only the means God uses to bring us through tough times and bad circumstances that he already knew and caused to occur.
For the Christian I think it can be said that it would be both irresponsible and wasteful to never prepare for the future. Whether it is hard times or natural catastrophe, we should at least plan ahead. To not do so would be to take for granted God’s gifts and to stick our noses up at his omnipotence. To say that Christians who prep don’t trust God, well that sounds pretty silly.
I prepare for the future, not because I fear it, not because I don’t believe God is in control of it, but because I am responsible in it; no matter what it brings whether it be personal safety and preservation, natural or manmade catastrophe, civil unrest or war.