Preparedness is traditional, but is it Christian?

Posted on August 11, 2011 by

With the likelihood of ongoing financial instability in the US, and civil unrest materializing in many areas of the world formerly considered “safe”, more and more people are scaling back lifestyle,  adjusting  their financial lives by converting paper assets into tangibles, and considering their  family’s practical needs as long-term unemployment or lesser employment become their new normal.

Food storage, basic homemaking skills such as sewing and canning, and even recreation choices  – from camping to marksmanship to hobby agrarianism –  have replaced the eating out/movie going/golf on the weekends priorities for many middle class families.  Often out of necessity, but not infrequently by choice among those who are just old enough to remember their grandparents discussing the hardships of the Great Depression.

Occasionally  the question surfaces:  is it Christian to be prepared for the decline of society, or does it represent a lack of faith if one is too concerned with creature comforts, when the spiritual is what really matters?

In a Scriptural context, it would seem to be a complex issue when faced with the birds of the air:

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  (Matthew 6:26)

And in some contrast, the wise man:

Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.  (Proverbs 21:20)

In other words, is a well stocked pantry,  years of stored consumables  from toilet paper to blue jeans,  in the name of preparedness merely an excuse for hoarding, or is the practical and spiritual wisdom intertwined throughout the Bible a directive to be prepared not only for our own family’s well being, but also to enable charity and the restoration of community in the face of hardship for those who for whatever reason cannot help themselves?

(Cottage Child disclaimer:  I rarely quote Scripture, I’m terrible at it.  Use here is merely for the purpose of conversation –  I would be interested in any exegetical analysis that applies.  Also, I understand this dilemma is not limited to Christians, and neither is this discussion intended to be.)