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Food storage and faith vs worry

January 24, 2011

As I think about food storage – whether it be for the 72 hours that many emergency preparedness organizations recommend  (e.g. the Red Cross – or for longer term as the Mormon church, or many survivalists do, I know that many of my Christian friends would be rather sceptical about such things if I were to talk it over with them.    I know that there would be some scepticism about the need for food storage (which is not the scope of this blog post) but primarily there would be concern about disobeying the Lord in some way by not walking in faith or by worrying about “tomorrow.”

I believe such passages as Luke 12:22-34 would come to mind:

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it.  For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.  But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  (NIV)

So there are those words of Jesus, that we must think seriously about.   At face value His words might indeed seem to preclude storing food up against potential problems (although that is not the only reason to have a well-stocked pantry).    I think though, that as we examine His words and then think about applying them, we might see another picture.    As I read through the passage, I see the word “worry” comes up several times.  We’re told not to worry, and not to be afraid.   Why?  Because God cares for the rest of His creation, and we are more valuable than any of the beautiful plants and birds Jesus mentions, we can know that God has our welfare in mind.   He will care for us.

Two questions then come to mind.  How far do we take the “don’t worry about tomorrow concept”, and is storing food actually indicative of a worried heart?  I.e.,  can you store food and still trust God?

For the first question, how far do we go with not worrying about tomorrow?  Is it wrong to have a year’s worth of food stored up for your family, if you can afford it, if you are still giving to others, and doing the other things that you ought to be doing?   If it is, why?  That’s taking it too far?  What about 6 months?  3?   1?  I bet a lot of Christians have enough food for one month.  Some don’t.  If a month is wrong, how about one week?  A lot of people do a week’s worth of shopping.   If you are doing it, isn’t that thinking about tomorrow at the very least?  Ah! but is thinking and planning the same thing as worrying?

Or is the real issue the attitude of the heart?   Many buy food for the week to save time and fuel – who wants to go shopping every day?  It’s not a good use of time to drive to the supermarket every day, in my opinion.   And those who buy every week (as I do) often purchase things that go beyond that week.   It’s handy to have extra things on hand. Is it worrying?  Or is it just nice to know that if something comes up and you can’t make it to the shops the next time  you would normally go, your family will still be OK?  Or that you have extra on hand, to give to someone that you find is in need, or if you have unexpected guests come?

Worrying about “tomorrow” – does that mean when we find a sale on children’s clothing, that we are not to buy the garment that will fit our baby in 6 months, or our older child in a year?  Or a pair of work trousers that will be good for our husband when his current ones wear out?  Worry? or frugality and using God’s resources for us wisely?

Does not worrying mean that we should not have smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, or fire extinguishers in our home?  Fires and carbon monoxide are scary, are we worrying about them when we install detectors or extinguishers?  Or is it just realizing that sometimes God does allow difficulties in our lives, even though He loves us,  and perhaps it is just good to use our God-given brains to minimize the impact of them, if He allows us to?

Does not worrying about tomorrow also mean we should not keep savings in the bank, or have retirement savings?    Is it alright to save for anything at all?   Is keeping a spare tire in your car worrying?

Is planning for the future and its eventualities the same as worrying?  I really don’t think it is.     I realize it can be, and we need to be careful.  Are we storing things and equipping our cars and homes with items for sustenance, safety, and warmth for good reasons?  We do have to be watchful we are not using storage as an excuse for covetousness, manifesting as hoarding.  Or, if  our storage is really a manifestation of fear instead of faith.   Each person will need to examine his own heart.  My point is though, that storage does not have to mean worry or a lack of faith.

I contend that to use our  money and home wisely, to prepare for likely eventualities or even not-so-likely-but-still-possible ones, and to do so realizing that we are able to do this solely because of God’s grace towards us, and to do so with a willingness to love Him and our neighbor by giving to others if necessary, is not worry at all.


It may be helpful to look up various Scriptures where God has commended storing up for the future, but that will have to wait for another post.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2011 1:44 pm

    Very well thought out! To me keeping food in my pantry *is* a reason for not having to worry. It’s also the reason I made it through my last layoff without starving, because unemployment only paid enough to cover rent and part of my car payment. There was no grocery money.

  2. Leonidas permalink
    February 6, 2013 3:49 pm

    Forget all the Religion in-doctorate, a good reason to have food & water stocked up is as simple as this, we as humans will die with out it, with all the bad weather we’ve been having lately who wants to go shopping and risk breaking a leg falling on the ice, not me I’d rather dip into my food reserves and re-stock them when the weather improves.

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