Should a Good Christian Prepare for Hard Times?
Copyright © May 1, 2014 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.
(All Scripture Verses are from the New International Version of the Holy Bible except where noted.)
It is relatively easy to support almost any point of view by carefully selecting one or two verses from the Bible that support that point of view, and then completely ignoring all the other verses in the Bible that are in opposition to that point of view.
Satan tried this approach when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. But Jesus used the Holy Bible to defeat Satan. In my opinion, we should follow Jesus' example and we should use the entire Holy Bible as our guide and not just a few random scripture verses from the Bible.
The purpose of this article is to examine the Holy Bible to determine what it does say about preparing for hard times.
First, however, let's look at a few scripture verses that could be used to justify not preparing for hard times.
How to Use the Bible to Justify Not Preparing for Hard Times
Matthew 6:25-26 - "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them."
Luke 12:22-26 - 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. 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 his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"
If a person has decided that he or she is not going to prepare for hard times, then that person could use the above scripture verses to justify his or her behavior.
However, the above verses only refer to "worrying." A person who only worries about something is wasting their time. Simply worrying about something will not prevent it from happening. On the other hand, if a person takes positive action then that person may be able to prevent something from happening. For example, if you spilled some slippery liquid on your floor, then you could worry that someone might slip on that liquid and fall and get seriously hurt. However, no matter how much you worry you will not be able to prevent a future accident. On the other hand, if you clean up the slippery liquid and restore the floor to its original non-slip condition, then the chance of someone slipping on the floor and having a serious accident is drastically reduced. This illustrates the principle that Jesus was explaining to His disciples. Don't waste your time worrying. It doesn't accomplish anything.
In the above verses Jesus was not telling His disciples to stop sowing seed and harvesting food. Jesus did not say that God delivered food to the birds or to the ravens each day. The birds and the ravens still had to go out each day to find their food. In other words, the birds and the ravens still had to work for their food.
Another scripture verse that could be used to justify not preparing is the following:
Luke 11:3 - Give us each day our daily bread.
A person could use the above verse to justify having very little extra food in their house, and they could say they were living by faith that God would feed them in the future.
However, the following verse says that our food is not a free gift from God, but food is something that we have to work for.
2 Thessalonians 3:10 - For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
For thousands of years if a family did not have enough food stored inside their homes to last through the winter, then that family would starve to death during the winter. This principle has not changed. Simply trusting God to deliver food to your family in the middle of winter is putting God to a test and it is not living by faith.
Psalm 78:18 - They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved.
Luke 4:12 - Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
Faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is what saves us from the wrath of God.
However, living by faith does not mean that we should stop using common sense.
Preparing for hard times is using good common sense and it has absolutely nothing to do with our faith in God.
How to Use the Bible to Justify Preparing for Hard Times
On the other hand, if a Christian wanted to use the entire Holy Bible as a guide for their beliefs and for their behavior, then the following scripture verses should be carefully and prayerfully considered:
Matthew 25:1-13 - "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
The above parable is similar to many of Jesus' parables because it has a variety of logical and legitimate applications. One of the practical interpretations of the above parable is being prepared. Jesus referred to five of the virgins as being foolish because they only had enough lamp oil to last for a short period of time. Jesus said the other five virgins were wise because they had enough lamp oil to last a long time, and they did not share with the foolish virgins when they ran out of oil because the wise virgins knew they did not have enough extra oil for everyone. The five wise virgins were commended for being properly prepared but the five foolish virgins were condemned for not being adequately prepared. This is not the only interpretation of the above parable but it is one of the many legitimate applications of the above parable. If a person has already decided they are not going to prepare for hard times then that person will simply reject this interpretation of the above parable for one of the many other interpretations that does not require them to do any advance planning.
"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'
" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'
"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour."
Another scripture verse that specifically mentions being prepared is the following:
Luke 22:35-36 - Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"
Jesus clearly told His disciples that they should have some extra money, provisions, and a weapon they could use for self-defense. The above verse should not be used to justify violence. Jesus did not tell His disciples to steal or to hurt anyone. The weapon was to be used for self-defense and not for personal gain or for violence.
"Nothing," they answered.
He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."
Matthew 26:52 - "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."
Jesus did not tell His disciple to discard his sword. Jesus simply told His disciple to put his sword back into its normal carrying position on his body. (Note: John 18:10 tells us that Peter was the disciple with the sword.)
Although a person could purchase a sword for self-defense today, a modern self-defense weapon would be a pistol or a rifle.
There are many Christians who do not believe in self-defense weapons. They have a right to their beliefs. But Jesus specifically told His disciples that they should carry a weapon for self-defense.
The easiest way to ignore a specific scripture is to say that it was intended for people who lived "back then" and that we don't have to do whatever that particular scripture says today. I am now a senior citizen and during the course of my life I have heard this excuse used many, many, many times to discredit any scripture that a person did not wish to practice. I have even heard it used in the pulpit of Christian churches to excuse an entire body of believers from practicing a specific scripture. But I cannot find a single scripture anywhere in the entire Bible that supports this practice of selectively believing the scriptures that you personally want to believe.
Instead Jesus said the following:
Matthew 5:17-19 - "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."
During the past two thousand years, millions upon millions upon millions of peaceful law-abiding honest Christians have been executed by their own government and by their own neighbors. The Holy Bible specifically mentions the beheading of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:10), the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:59), and the slaying of the disciple James (Acts 12:2).
Luke 16:17 - "It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law."
Jesus told us we would face persecution in the following scriptures:
Mark 13:13 - All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
John 15:18-19 - "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
The two religious groups that have been consistently persecuted and killed are Jews and Christians. Anyone who believes that simply having faith in God is going to prevent them from being harmed does not truly understand the Bible.
The apostle Paul tells about his hardships in the following verses:
2 Corinthians 11:24-26 - Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.
The Holy Bible tells us that during the Last Days many Christians will die but many Christians will survive. Each one of us has the right to make our own decision on which of these two groups of Christians that our family will join. I pray that you will chose wisely.
2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) - Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
Some information about the Last Days can be read on my website by clicking on the following two links:
How to Survive the Apocalypse.
Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.
Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com