Summary: A talk given to at a Tea Party Meeting on being prepared
February 24, 2011
As a pastor I am sometimes asked, “Why do you need to be prepared? Don’t you trust God to take care of you?” And they quotes Scriptures like these:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
“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 than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 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. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that 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, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6
Let me say that if this is your faith, I don’t have any problem with that. You do what you feel is best for you and your family. Personally, I think those Scriptures are dealing with something else. I think they are dealing with someone who puts his faith in themselves and their ability and in wealth. You can have all the money in the world and be prepared better than anyone else– and still be killed. One friend of mine, who lived in the Sacramento area, was well prepared. We went hiking a number of times in the Sierra’s together. He always had the best equipment. He was always prepared. In his home he had guns hidden in his coffee table and behind pictures and all over the place. It didn’t help him when his home was invaded and he was killed. The good news was he was prepared spiritually.
I think the Scriptures I quoted are dealing with trust and peace. We don’t have to be uptight and stressed out and worried. God knows us. He cares about us. He won’t let anything happen to us apart from His will. So the point is – spiritual preparedness is the most important preparation you can make.
The boy scouts have a motto: “Be prepared. "Be prepared for what?" someone once asked Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, "Why, for any old thing." He said.
My cousin, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, when he instructs military or law enforcement personal, teaches them that the best antidote to stress is preparation. So on the one hand, I do believe we need to trust God. On the other hand, I think we need to be prepared. The wisest man who ever lived said,
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools devour all they have.”
Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.” Luke 14:28-32
Jesus is teaching us that the wise thing to do is to “count the cost”. In other words, he is teaching us we ought to think ahead, plan ahead, consider the consequences, and be prepared. This does a couple of things. It relieves stress in our lives, and enables us to help others. If you aren’t prepared – you are scrambling to take care of your own needs in an emergency situation. But if you ARE prepared – you can help others.