Why I’m Not a Prepper

In this blog I want to share why I am not a doomsday prepper. I also want to discuss the idea of stockpiling goods, which I had mentioned during my very first video review of Dana Coverstone’s dreams. It’s something that I got a LOT of flack over on Youtube, and so I’d like to revisit the matter in a little more detail.

In Pastor Coverstone’s very first viral video he believed that he was being told by God to “brace yourself.” Now of course, I’ve dealt with that message and his dreams in a number of previous blogs of mine. And as I’ve pointed out, and I continue to stand by this: there is no good evidence to believe that those dreams that Dana had were from God or that God is saying to the church today, “brace yourself.”  With that being said, in Dana’s very first dream video he strongly recommended that people begin making preparations for a coming disaster. In particular, he suggested that Christians begin stockpiling groceries, goods, and ammunition. 

In my first video response to that recommendation I had suggested that a Christian should seek God’s will on whether or not one should stockpile resources.

For some reason, my advice to allow God to lead people in terms of preparations didn’t sit well with a lot of Christians. Evidently, they just didn’t want to hear that God should make the call. In fact, most of the negative comments that I had received on that video were about my caution in stockpiling goods.

There’s a term for people who stockpile goods in the event of a catastrophic emergency. They are called “preppers.” If you search the internet for that term you will find a myriad of webpages and videos that celebrate the benefits or defend the merits of prepping. These people are making major preparations for a doomsday apocalypse, that I seriously suspect many of them long to see. Those who are preppers fiercely defend their position. But, I have found practically no one offering a balancing point of view. Which is what I want to do here today.

A prepper is generally defined as someone who makes preparations for some significant disaster, whether natural or otherwise. And, to be fair, there are many different levels of preppers. There are those who I would call the hardcore preppers, who build underground bunkers complete with food and medical supplies that could last at least several months or maybe years, completely separate from the grid. Then, there are preppers who simply stockpile groceries and fuel at their homes to last them should food supply chains be interrupted. Of course, you may even call a person who cans and freezes groceries a prepper, because in a sense that’s what they are doing.

For the purpose of this video I’m going to focus on the more extreme-type of prepper attitude, or at least one is very focused on making preparations for an upcoming disaster.

So, lets begin with the question, “is prepping Biblical?” Well, the answer most often given to that question is, “Joseph was a prepper and he saved the ancient world from starvation!” 

This, of course, is a reference to Joseph of the Old Testament who interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream about a coming famine. As a result, Joseph recommended to Pharaoh that he spend the next seven years saving the bumper crop to prepare for the following seven years of drought. 

Obviously, Joseph “prepped.” But, let’s take a look at that story in a little more detail because there’s a few things I want to show you. First, I want to point out that the Bible doesn’t actually tell us that this is what God commanded Joseph to do. Joseph made the recommendation to Pharaoh, but it doesn’t necessarily tell us that the idea to prep was from God. It may have been, or may not have been. The Bible just doesn’t tell us. 

Second, Joseph had been warned specifically about a period of great famine that was coming. This famine was evidently part of God’s plan because it would eventually reunite Joseph to his family. So, in this account we have specific prepping about a specific coming hard time.

Third, although many people were saved by Joseph the Prepper, it came at an exceedingly great cost. You see, Joseph, on behalf of Pharaoh, began to sell the grain that had been stored up. Joseph ended up collecting all of the money in the land of Egypt until no one had any left.  (Gen 47:14). 

When there was no money left to buy food, the people next surrendered all of their livestock, cattle, herds, and donkeys to Joseph (Gen 47:17).

Next, when Joseph had all of the money and all of the livestock in all of Egypt, he next took their lands, and all of the people were forced to move into the cities (Gen 47:21). 

Finally, the very last thing to be surrendered was the people themselves. Their last offering was their agreement to sell themselves to Pharaoh to be slaves in order to eat.

As you can see the end result of Joseph the Prepper was that the Pharaoh owned absolutely everything, including the people themselves. You know it’s interesting that in Pharaoh’s dream that started this whole thing, that he had told Joseph that after the seven thin cows had eaten the seven fat ones, he said that “they were just as ugly as at the beginning” (Gen 41:21).

Indeed, the famine and Joseph’s prepping left a land that was completely devastated and ugly. Now, I’m not making an argument against prepping by that, I’m only pointing out that those who use this story as proof that this is what Christians should be doing need to realize that the story does not necessarily end well for everyone, but only those who have the most power. And also to remember that the prepping was for something that was known to be coming.

Another Biblical prepper often cited by preppers is Noah. Unlike Joseph’s story, we know that Noah did specifically receive orders to make preparations. And, as I have pointed out in my very first video if God is instructing you to make preparations then you need to listen to Him.

So, you may ask, are there any arguments against prepping? Well, I think that there are few passages that we need to take a look at, which could lend a balancing point of view to this subject.

In Luke 12 Jesus tells the parable of the Rich Fool. This very wealthy man was enjoying an unexpected bumper crop, so much so that he didn’t have room to keep it all. So, he decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones so that he could kick back and take ease for many years to come. But God had other plans for the man. Apparently just when he thought he could kick back he was told that his soul was being required of. In other words, before being able to enjoy his surplus he died and was summoned to the judge’s chamber. 

Jesus had called him a fool and suggested that anyone who likewise lays up treasure for himself is a fool. It’s interesting, Jesus also said that the man was not “rich toward God.”Obviously, a happier ending to the parable would have been if the man had realized that he had plenty in his life for the purpose of helping the needy. Had he realized that his surplus actually had been given to him by God – he had nothing to do with it – and had he been generous with it, then his day before God in judgement would probably had become a bit more tolerable.

Now, this is not the only reference we have about being rich toward God or having treasures stored away in heaven. A few chapters later in Luke 18 Jesus had a very well-known confrontation with the rich young ruler. The man came to Jesus seeking eternal life. They have a discussion and then Jesus finally tells the man to sell everything that he has, give those proceeds away to the poor, and then join Jesus’ band of disciples. Jesus adds that by doing this he will have “treasure in heaven.” Note, that the rich young ruler would not have had anything left with which to become a prepper had he heeded Jesus words, yet he would have been found rich in God’s eyes.

Later in the same chapter Peter reminds Jesus that he and the other disciples had left everything to follow Him. Jesus told Peter and the others that anyone who had done what they had done would receive reward many times over both in this age and in the one to come.

Now, I will point out that even though Peter claims that he had left everything, we know that this is not literally true. We know that Peter still maintained a house, had a wife, and he continued to keep his fishing gear. He still had “stuff,” but I think Peter had committed that ‘stuff’ to the service of Jesus. He didn’t see that stuff as belong to himself, but now belonging to God. I think this is the proper attitude for all Christians, whether preppers or not.

In the famous sermon on the mount in Matthew 6 Jesus specifically warns against laying up for ourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Rather, He said we should be focused on laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where they are preserved without any threat of being destroyed or stolen.

Now, one might think that I’m recommending against being a prepper. That’s not what I’m necessarily saying. What I am saying is the same thing that I said in my earlier video: and that is we need to let God lead us on what we are to be doing. As followers of Jesus our purpose must be in pleasing Him.

If you’ve received specific revelation, like Noah did, to begin stockpiling for a future disaster, then that’s exactly what you should be doing. If you haven’t received any particular revelation then I think you need to think carefully about what you are doing with God’s resources. Remember, they belong to him, not you. Everything we have in our lives is really an extension of the goodness and kindness of God. We are stewards of literally everything in this life. Today, God may require of you or me an accounting of what we have done. We need to live ready for that moment.

Now, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being prepared for the future. To a degree we all do some kind of prepping in our lives. The question, I believe, is whether or not we are storing away too much of the resources that we have access to for ourselves. Isn’t it possible that God is pouring resources your way because He wants you to direct them to someone else who is in need? That’s a good question that you and God will have to figure out together. In the end, we as Christians live to serve our King.

Now, although I’m not a prepper, that doesn’t mean that my wife and I don’t have some preparations made. One thing we enjoy doing is making large meals and then freezing the leftovers for a later time, or to give to someone who needs them. We also can goods, and I have a dehydrator that I sometimes use to preserve foods. But we do our best to strike a balance between living a prepared life, and hoarding goods for a future disaster. Because the Kingdom may need those resources now.

Back in June when I first heard Dana Coverstone recommend that we should be stockpiling groceries, goods, and ammunition, and investing in alternate forms of currency – I made a personal decision. My own decision was that I didn’t feel that stockpiling goods was what God wanted me to do. So, I decided to put my money where my mouth was. Instead of taking extra income that me and my wife could be using to buy canned and dehydrated goods for the future, we made a decision to take that money and increase our giving to the Kingdom of God. We picked a number of missionaries that we believed in and increased our funding for them.

Now, I know a lot of people are going to think that what we did was foolish; that I should have been taken my extra money and saved it up to provide for my family in the event of a future disaster. And that giving it away to missionaries was ridiculous. Perhaps I was foolish. Maybe that was the wrong thing to do with my surplus. But, I’m willing to let God decide that. When the day comes for my soul to be required of me, God may say that I was an absolute idiot for not investing in silver, or for not buying up buckets of freeze-dried chicken. However, it may also be revealed that our actions actually stored up for ourselves treasures in heaven by which we would enjoy for eternity.

If God has not given you specific instructions to stockpile, then I think you need to ask God which would serve the Kingdom better: to keep these things stowed away, or to get those resources into the Kingdom of God right now. I will not answer that question for you. That is between you and Jesus.

Dane Cramer is a backpacker, follower-of-Jesus blogger, jail chaplain, amateur filmmakerPodcast host, and author of two books: Romancing the Trail and The Nephilim: A Monster Among Us , and has worked as an investigator for over 35 years.




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