"Zero Fluff Bible Studies"

To stock up or not to stock up?

Christian friends are wondering what to do about the current food scarcity. In many countries around the world, most of them actually, food is an issue. "Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day." (source) That is an amazing fact. If you are like me and live in America, and have been privileged to live in wealth all your life, that fact is hard to comprehend. "But I'm not rich!" you might protest. Maybe you have been out of work for 32 weeks and are on the verge of losing your house. Well, you HAVE a house. Maybe you have already lost your house. Well, unless you are living under the RR tracks and reading this at the library, you are rich. If you have some sort of shelter, occasional food, and clothes, you are rich- comparatively. (Image no. ww1646-79 courtesy Northwestern University, WWII rationing)

So, many people around here are wondering what to do about the hard times on us. No longer are our jobs secure. An entire generation grew up knowing that their company would be loyal to them and they would be loyal to their company, retiring after 40 years with a party, and a gold watch. Government workers were the most secure, teachers, cops, public works crews. But with recent budget crises, entire police forces are being laid off, teachers are not being hired and suddenly, parks don't need to be leaf-blown every day. Layoffs in every sector abound and no new jobs are to be had. It's not hard for people to see the writing on the wall. (Side note: that phrase came from the bible.)

It's natural to want to stock up. Witness any store before a snowstorm- bread and milk are wiped out within hours. People who have families naturally want to gather supplies to take them through the storm. You want to provide for them in case there is scarcity and want. So what I am going to remind you of is counter intuitive. Don't stock up for the coming storm. Share all you have. Give sacrificially. Be generous.

"WHAT?!" you say. 'Even the bible shows Joseph stocking up for the famine to come upon Egypt! He knew what was coming and he prepared!" Well, not really. The Joseph story is not a good example of biblical giving. Read the chapters carefully.

In Genesis 41:46-57; Genesis 42:6; Genesis 47:13-22 Joseph went throughout all the land of Egypt and he took the one-fifth of the grain that the people had grown. (Gen 41:34). Joseph stored it in the cities (because cities are guarded and protected). When the famine came, he sold it back to them. When they ran out of money, he took their livestock, and when they ran out of livestock, he took their land as collateral. He turned all the people of Egypt and a good measure of those around Egypt into serfs.

Actually the bible is rife with stories about how we should give it all away. I am NOT talking about socialism. What I am talking about is that the Lord is counter-intuitive. Everything He asks us to do is counter to how we would act in the natural. Love our enemy. When we're hit on the cheek, give the other cheek. When asked for a shirt, give the coat, too. Become poor to be rich. Die to live. He said He would take care of us. He said He would take care of us even if the way seems impossible. He said it over and over and over!

Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?" (Luke 12:24)

"Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?" (Job 38:41)

"These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time." (Psalm 104:27)

"He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call." (Psalm 147:9)

And Did He not denounce covetousness? "Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:15-21)

"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin. (James 4:13-17)

In my personal life, I've come to the conclusion that Christians are not to stock up but to give sacrificially. A year and a half ago the situation around here was hard but not dire. Recently it has become dire for many of our families in the county. Dozens per week are knocking at the door of the church at all hours asking for food. The County food bank is regularly depleted. The Feed the Kids program is always asking for food so that the little ones at home from school aren't hungry over the weekend. Don't save. GIVE! We really have a lot more than we think we do, and we need a lot less than we use.

When you hear people saying "prepare" take that to mean being prayed up, solid on your bible reading, and having walked arm in arm with the Lord. Don't stray from a close walk with Him and His statutes. Be spiritually prepared. Why? He called us to be salt and light. THIS is what it means to be light to the people who are in the dark, lost and wandering. THIS is what it means to be salt, preserving the word by acting on it. So Christian, prepare! But prepare to be salt and light:

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)

Comments

  1. This post made me tear up quite a bit. It also made me think of Lottie Moon, who gave and served so fearlessly. It's hard to maintain that kind of trust and faith when things are looking so dismal. Thank you for posting.

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  2. I agree, Lenzey, it IS hard to think of others when we are staring at the wolf at the door. But I've been thinking a lot about what it really means to BE salt and light. I think the last little while in America is where the rubber meets the road. It is a leap of faith, and so hard for us Laodiceans who say "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, " (Rev 3:17). But because we are rich we can give, in so doing, express His love to those who are lost and dying.

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  3. I am working through "storing up" as well. There is a good christian fiction book series that I am reading by Leisha Kelly-- "Julia's Hope, Emma's Gift and Katie's Dream". All are set after the 1929 fall in America. They have been good to put current "struggles" in perspective. There is/was a whole generation of people that are scared and "stored up" things in fear after that time in our history.
    ~Wooster

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  4. It must be a terrible spiritual quandary for deep-thinking Christians, especially ones with families. The natural inclination is to save what you have, and many Christians do so with the intent to share when things get really bad, if we're here. I know I did that myself for a year or so. My grandparents spoke of the Depression, often. My grandmother would get irritated if I did not wash the tin foil, refold it and save it for another use. I used to think that was silly...

    But I finished reading Last Light by Terri Blackstock, where the electronics went out and no more electricity or deliveries had occurred of anything to anywhere. An elder in the book taught the younger families how to do just that: REALLY reduce, reuse and recycle.

    I'll look up the Leisha Kelly book, it sounds good.

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  5. I appreciate this. As a wife and mother, It's important for me to be a good steward and prepare for my family, but to not cross the line of hoarding or not sharing.

    I finished the series by Terri Blackstock a few months ago and it was really good.

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  6. This is a very good word.
    My husband and I have given sacrificially only to be used and abused time and time again. Sad really, for I know God will deal with these people who have taken advantage of us but it hurts especially since most of these people are Christians. They take and take and take without thought or care to God. It has allowed our lives to really focus on God and see His goodness and realize to a degree how God feels when people take from Him and not give in return. I can see why Jesus was called a man of sorrow for He gave and only a small few retuned a portion of the love that He gave out and even those ended up turning away from Him in the end.

    Blessings,
    <><

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  7. As with so many things in life, there is a balance even in this situation. The Bible not only commands us to be generous and to give to others in need, but God gives us direct commands to care for our families, commands to both husbands/fathers and wives/mothers. We cannot give if we are not prepared. I am mostly in agreement with you, but as a mother and grandmother I also must be caring for my children and grandchildren when the famine comes. I've known several people who store things up in underground bunkers for when "they" come - I'm not talking about that! I'm just saying not to be totally unprepared because "God will take care of me" and then expect others to provide for you because you did not provide for yourself when God gave you the ability to do so.
    I Timothy 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
    Proverbs 6:6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
    7 It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
    8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.
    Proverbs 31:14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
    15 She gets up while it is still dark;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her servant girls.

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  8. I know, ColorodoColumbine, it is a hard thing to strike a balance with. I came to my own conclusion as an individual based on prayer and bible study, but I don't have children or dependents. Each Christian should pray it through and see what the Spirit says to do. I like what Mrs. Jennifer said, that there IS a line and we all need to make sure we don't cross it into hoarding and storing up treasures, wherever that line lay for each of us individually

    I tend toward the giving and complete reliance on Jesus though, because that is what the preponderance of verses say, in my opinion

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  9. I agree with most of your postings but this one not so much.

    I can only give what I have. If I do not store up something then I would not have anything to give away when the time comes. Hosea 4:6 tells us that God's people perish for lack of knowledge. If everyone were to be given something from other (Christians?) then no Christian should perish?

    Proverbs 6:6 - 8 tells us of the ant and its labor. Verse 8 in specific talks of storing food in the summer for the winter.

    1 Timothy 5:8 states that he that does not provide for him family is worse than an unbeliever. To elaborate, if I know there is a coming drought then it is only prudent to store up in the event of a problem. It is not greed it is common sense.

    In the Book of Genesis Noah was clearly told by God to build an ark. It was through Noah's physical efforts at God's direction that saved Noah's family and the selected animals. Hebrews 11:7 states exactly why Noah did what he did, "By faith Noah, being warned by God of things not yet seen, moved with fear, he prepared an ark for the saving of his house". God provided for Noah by providing information to the event and assumed providing the means and circumstances necessary for Noah to accomplish the task. There was still an effort on the part of Noah. The amount of food Noah had to store up
    must have been significant. Yet the purpose for doing so is obvious in the light of Scripture.

    If I take all of the above passages in context and if I am fairly confident that there are problems coming and I have the resources to gather so that my family and others can live, then that is what should be done.

    You mention in your post that more and more people come to the church for food. And thus it can be assumed that those that had extra gave food (or money) to allow this to happen. With that said I assume you feel it appropriate for the church to give out food and money but not for ordinary Christians? What is the difference?

    As with all things there needs to be a measured response in preparing, but based on my read of Scripture it would seem prudent to do so. I mean the Bible in Matthew 6:24 does tell us not to worry about tomorrow, but does not say that we should not prepare for tomorrow.

    Best Regards Lee Robertson.

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  10. That's just it, Lee. God told Noah to build an ark. What is God telling you to do?

    I did not say that we should not give out food. I said the opposite. I wrote in large capital letters, "GIVE." The post is about stocking up, not a debate about whether to give.

    Overall, the bible shows time and again that He provides. The second question is, how far is each person willing to go to rely on Him?

    Third, "preparing" to me means not stocking up, but making sure I have a close, CLOSE walk with Jesus, so that when He does tell me what to do, I will hear.

    "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Mt 6:19

    "Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days." James 5:3. Treasure in the last days also includes food (Rev 6:5-6).

    You want to stock up for your family, but how much? And what are you doing for your neighbor? (Don't answer, these are rhetorical)

    Put your faith in the Lord and not in your pantry: it is the way to survive the hard times between now and the Rapture. The difficulties the Lord has said He will to deliver us from are those that take place during Tribulation, and we are not in the Tribulation yet. If we do the what He said to do, He promised to see us safely through all the rest. Jesus urges complete dependence on Him. He commands sacrificial giving to others, even when it doesn't make earthly sense to do so.

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  11. I agree the post is about stocking up.. Thus the dilemma. I one does not stock up, how are they to give in a time of famine? That was the basis of my response. The difference between putting away food and stockpiling is strictly subjective from an earthly perspective. I believe the Bible is clear that stocking up on anything in any amount in the wrong spiritual frame of mind is wrong. I used those particular scriptures to back up that position. So I agree I should trust in the Lord and not the pantry. But an empty pantry in light of current events is not being a wise steward of what God has given us in that I cannot provide for my immediate or extended family and it limits the ability to witness from more than one perspective.

    Best Regards Lee..

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  12. I read your post and really disagree to some degree.God gave us a brain we should use it. if you see a storm coming prepare for it.did he feed and cloth those in Hitlers concentration camps? Did he stop the rebels from cutting the heads of christians off? Did he entervine as the Nuns were being raped and murdered? the answer is no. So dont think you are above these saints. God is no respector of man. does the bible tell us a loaf of bread will be a days wage? if your struggling now it might be wise to beat inflation by storing food now. fact! your government is stockpiling ammo and food. the are preparing for a storm. my advice is this. get your head out of the sand and face reality. these things are coming. Ray Charles can see it!

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    1. I agree the hard times are here and the Tribulation is on the horizon. We Christians will not be present on earth for the Tribulation.

      My exhortation was for Christians to do the counter-intuitive thing and share, give, and be salt and Light. Obviously you disagree. If the pagans are hoarding and you as a Christian are hoarding, what makes you different from a pagan?

      It is not my job to "beat inflation". It is my job to be patient, loving, giving, and relying on God to provide. Show THAT, and you will really be doing something for the kingdom. Fact!

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    2. I agree Elizabeth, we will not be here , Christ will come for us and we should be watching for His any time return.

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    3. We are not living for ourselves, but for God, And God says to walk his footsteps, so you ask yourselves....would God hide his stored food while others starve?, that wouldn't be very holy!!, are life here doesn't matter for it is temporary, we are to live holy and die if we must to stay holy, to even lie to survive is unholy and shows you are living for what is of the world, your suffering in the name of Jesus Christ will be paid for.

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    4. I totally agree with Mike Vahle, we are to live holy lives for Jesus and prepare for His return. It is wise to store goods for an earthquake emergency and share it when the event comes. But it will run out sooner or later. It is best it run out sooner sharing with others, which is the holy and God pleasing thing to do. When it runs out, if you starve to death so be it. We need to be prepared and prayed up, close to the Living God so we can bare the starvation, or what ever comes our way. We must be so consecrated to God that we are prepared to die for Jesus if the privilege should present itself. If we are at that spiritual place then we are in God's will and ready for anything. Our life is but a vapor and to provide for unsaved family and neighbors is not going to cut it. You share what you have while witnessing to it. With the annointing of the Holy Spirit and His wooing the unsaved hearts you will have done the will of God. Life and the trib is about salvation opportunities to the true beliver. Storing for 7 years of food is shameful. We are to be a witness and testimony of Jesus love flowing through us. We are His hands and feet. We cannot allow our selves to act in fear. Jesus said do not be troubled in the Gospels. He said over and over fear not. But we must be spiritually strong and ready to die and witness for Christ. Regardless of when some people think the rapture will be. God bless you all. I will be praying for you for peace and trust in the Lord that you may stand strong,

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  13. Do you save up for retirement, if so shame on you

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bunny,

      This will be a several part response.

      1. When engaging in a biblical discussion it is helpful to:
      --use the bible
      --not make attacks
      --at least explain your thinking.

      2. Here is my thinking:


      Saving for retirement is not a shame. It is wise. There are many scriptures that discuss being a wise steward with what God has provided us with. Money management and planning for the future are both wise. Abraham went and bought land in the Land so that his family could be buried there. Managing money so that our descendants or the widow can be provided for is a good thing.

      The Bible says,

      1 Corinthians 4:2 "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy."

      1 Timothy 5:8 "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."

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