Question:

First of all let me thank you, brother Hamilton, for maintaining such a wonderful, informative, godly web site for these past years. I can personally attest to how your advice has helped me to understand, more clearly, the Word of our Lord and apply it to my life, not only for my benefit but for my family's as well. So, thank you again.

My questions concern the idea of "prepping" or "survival preparation," if you will. I understand that as a Christian, we put our lives completely in God's hands, and that because we do this we are not to "worry" as Jesus states in Matthew 6:25-34 and again in Luke 12:22-28. But we are to have faith that when we petition God He will hear us (I John 5:14-15). But I also see situations like Noah's in which he was told to "prepare" by gathering what was necessary (Genesis 6:21). And Jesus, even though he is talking about preparing for his coming, talks about "the ten virgins" being prepared in Matthew 25:1-13. So my questions are: Is it sinful to "prep?" If it isn't, where would "prepping" cross the line into sin?

Thank you for your time and wisdom.


Answer:

The word "prudent" means to think ahead. "The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps" (Proverbs 14:15). Thus, if someone tells me "Trust me, the stock market always goes up eventually," I won't invest my entire future in just one thing. I will lay plans for alternatives, just in case the market goes down because markets can and do go downward.

Solomon states that "Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly" (Proverbs 13:16). Noah prepared because God told him in advance what he needed to do. Noah wasn't building an ark "just in case," so this isn't an example of what typically called "survival preparations." In the parable of the ten virgins, they knew that were going to a wedding reception and that in many receptions the time when the groom comes is unknown. Here five virgins were wise because they thought ahead to the possibility that the groom might be late. This serves as an example to us. We know that Jesus is coming, but we don't know when. Thus, we make preparations in our lives so that we are ready whenever he chooses to return. It is the spiritual preparation of being faithful until death that is under consideration here (Revelation 2:10).

The key to thinking ahead is being knowledgable about what is happening and what might happen. "The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge" (Proverbs 18:15). A prudent man doesn't allow himself to get blind-sided because he didn't see something coming. This become critical in matters of morality. "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished" (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12).

But the typical survivalist doesn't function on knowledge but on fear. He fears catastrophe around every corner and tries to make preparations for things are very likely never to happen. Let's take a typical doomsday scenario: the collapse of the current government. Do governments come to an end? History shows that such happens and we can't expect our current government to last forever. But do nations tend to collapse so suddenly that few survive the collapse? There we find that history shows otherwise. Sure, there are times that governments tend to change quickly, but for the general population it just changes who you pay your taxes to and how much you pay. So do I need to stockpile a years worth of food and water just in case? Not really.

If you live in an area that is prone to hurricanes or heavy snowstorms you probably want to have some food on during the season to tide you over if you can't get out for a while. That is thinking ahead of possibilities that could happen. However, economic disasters tend to be slow and give advance warning signs, so there the prudent will not tie up his resources trying to prepare for one type of problem and find himself unable to meet a different problem. It is better to find out which bridge you need to cross before crossing.

When a person spends precious resources on highly unlikely "maybes" based on nothing but fears of the future, he has lost his trust that God watches over His people. He has crossed over into worries about things he cannot control. Hard times do come and go. All hard times cannot be avoided. The key is what can you reasonably know in advance as likely possibilities. You make preparations for those that you can and trust that rest God will handle. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34).

Brother Hamilton, thank you for your response. You have confirmed what I was thinking.