“How did Socialists light their homes before candles?” Andy Puzder joked with Trish Regan on Fox Business. “Electricity,” he answered in what would prove to be prophetic. Three days later, Venezuela experienced an unprecedented power blackout in 22 of the nation’s 23 states. Beginning just as most commuters were leaving work, thousands scrambled to find ways home as the subway service stopped operating, and “roads came to a standstill due to confusion over blackened stoplights.” Over the next several days, food spoiled, communications failed, water pumps shut down, medical services halted, and “long lines formed outside bakeries, supermarkets and gas stations.”
The blackout was merely the latest collapse of infrastructure in a nation facing political turmoil. According to Fox News, “The shortage of goods and services has become a daily reality for Venezuelans, with many lacking food and basic Medical supplies due to the failing socialist economy that made the country’s currency worthless.” Today it is difficult to believe that only one generation ago, Venezuela was the wealthiest country in South America and the most stable democracy in Latin America.
Few people anticipate the worst—especially in good times. Long lines desperately seeking food at depleted grocery stores and water at local springs would have been inconceivable to Venezuelans a few decades ago, but they are today’s reality. The swift decline of Venezuela and the sudden collapse of strategic infrastructure serve as a visceral reminder that we are not promised tomorrow (James 4:13–14), nor are we promised endless peace and prosperity (1 Thess. 5:3). In light of this, should Christians be “Preppers,” or should they wait and trust upon the Lord to provide for them in times of difficulty?
What is a Prepper?
Fear and paranoia are not necessary prerequisites to be a Prepper. Rather, the title “Prepper” refers to those who feel as though they cannot and should not always rely upon the government to provide for them in times of difficulty. According to American Preppers Network, “A Prepper is a person who takes Personal Responsibility and Self Reliance seriously.”
Certainly, there are those who take this mindset to an extreme, such as “Doomsday Preppers” who prepare for apocalyptic scenarios and the total and complete breakdown of every aspect of society, but the majority of Preppers focus on preparing for more likely, yet unexpected, disruptions to ordinary life. Temporary power outages, water contamination, medical emergencies, bank holidays, severe weather, or the family’s primary bread-winner losing their job, passing away, or being incapacitated are realistic possibilities, and Preppers take steps to mitigate the long-lasting effects of such difficulties.
Are Preppers fearful?
Fear and paranoia are not necessary prerequisites to be a Prepper. There is a difference between being motivated by concern for what might come and being driven by a spirit of fear and worry. Many Americans own a variety of insurance policies. For most, their life, home, auto, medical, or flood policies are considered wise and rational safety-nets. They are not secured out of an irrational obsession with death, fear of catastrophic loss, or worry for their health. Nevertheless, there is reasonable concern that these events may occur—however unlikely they may be—and this concern motivates Americans to purchase various insurance policies. Likewise, Preppers should be motivated by reasonable concern for unforeseen and unlikely events. In this sense, prepping is motivated out of a sense of responsibility.
Those who prepare because of overwhelming fear have lost sight of the fact that God’s people are not to live in fear (Isa. 41:10; Matt. 20:28; 1 Pet. 3:14). Even if we should suffer and die, we have nothing to fear because we know what lays beyond. GotQuestions.org reminds us, “When fear or self-centered survivalism is the motivation for prepping, it becomes a lifestyle that cannot be supported by Scripture. We are to live wisely in this world, while remembering that this world is not our home (Hebrews 13:14).”
Christian Preppers should fear God who alone can provide true security. Proverbs 3:23–26 says, “Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.”
Do Preppers rely upon themselves more than upon the Lord?
“God helps those who help themselves” was once a popular saying in America. While this phrase does not appear in Scripture, it is a biblical principle that God expects us to do our part, and He often blesses our efforts. Just as we would view a student as foolish who chooses not to study for his test, relying instead upon the Lord for supernatural insight, so also, we should view as foolish the person who makes no provisions for tomorrow because they presumptuously expect the Lord to supernaturally provide for them.
Far too many Christians fall into the trap of inactivity, believing it to be more spiritual to wait upon the Lord and trust in His provision. While God never wants us to rely upon our own strength and efforts, He also doesn’t want us to be inactive and unwise. The book of Proverbs reminds us that God expects us to diligently prepare, and that troubles will likely befall those who are inactive and unprepared (Prov. 6:6–11; 24:27, 30–34). However, we must always remember that our preparations can only take us so far. Ultimately, God determines whether we should succeed in our efforts (Prov. 21:31).
Are there Biblical examples of Preppers?
Perhaps the greatest example of someone with a Prepper mindset in Scripture is Joseph who counseled Pharaoh to store away a portion of the nation’s grain during years of plenty to sustain them through the years of famine and drought (Gen. 41:34–36). The context of this passage reveals that Joseph’s counsel was inspired by the Holy Spirit. This is not to say that prepping is always God’s solution for us, but it does mean there is a place for prepping among those who desire to be faithful, obedient, and reliant upon God.
Interestingly enough, God used Joseph and Egypt’s preparations to minister to the surrounding nations during the years of famine. God’s desire for Egypt was more than survival. God wanted to use Egypt to bless others and to care for His people. Likewise, God wants more for Christian Preppers than survival. God’s desire is that His people use their goods and talents to minister to others in order to draw the lost to Himself and to provide for His people. This mindset is summed up in the Apostle Paul’s exhortation, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
There is a place for Christian Preppers, but we must be careful to maintain perspective. Our preparations should be motivated out of a sense of responsibility, not a sense of fear. Moreover, we should consider our efforts as offerings to the Lord to do with them as He wills. Lord willing, our preparations will be used to bless others and to provide for God’s people during times of difficulty.
Imagine the ministry opportunities in Venezuela among those Christians who, through faithful preparation, have goods and supplies with which to minister to those around them in need. If we approach prepping with this mindset, then prepping becomes a ministry. No longer is it fear-driven, self-centric, survivalism; instead, it is an outreach ministry to the lost and a heavenly insurance policy for God’s people.
1. Puzder, Andy. “Andy Puzder: If Socialists Really Wanted to Help People They’d Be Capitalists.” Fox News, March 12, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/andy-puzder-democratic-socialist-fantasies-are-just-that-fantasies-and-if-you-dont-believe-me-ask-venezuela.
2. Mikelionis, Lukas. “Venezuela in Chaos After Massive Power Outage, Maduro’s Regime Blames Marco Rubio.” Fox News, March 8, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-in-chaos-after-massive-power-outage-maduros-regime-blames-marco-rubio.
4. Kennedy, Merrit. “‘This Is Going to End Ugly’: Venezuela’s Power Outage Drags On.” NPR, March 11, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.npr.org/2019/03/11/702179263/this-is-going-to-end-ugly-venezuela-s-power-outages-drag-on.
5. Sheridan, Mary and Mariana Zuniga. “Rotting Food and Endangered Patients: How Venezuelans Are Faring During Continuing Nationwide Power Outages.” Washington Post, March 10, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/rotting-food-and-endangered-patients-how-venezuelans-are-faring-during-continuing-nationwide-power-outages/2019/03/10/137e14a2-4343-11e9-94ab-d2dda3c0df52_story.html?utm_term=.0e2b0f2fc220.
6. Mikelionis, Lukas. “Venezuela in Chaos After Massive Power Outage, Maduro’s Regime Blames Marco Rubio.”
7. Lott, Maxim. “How Socialism Turned Venezuela from the Wealthiest Country in South America into an Economic Basket Case.” Fox News, January 26, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.foxnews.com/world/how-socialism-turned-venezuela-from-the-wealthiest-country-in-south-america-into-an-economic-basket-case.
8. Margolis, Jason. “Venezuela Was Once the Richest, Most Stable, Democracy in Latin America. What Happened?” PRI, February 7, 2019. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-02-07/venezuela-was-once-richest-most-stable-democracy-latin-america-what-happened.
9. Burns, Phil. “What Is a Prepper?” American Preppers Network, n.d. Accessed March 18, 2019. http://americanpreppersnetwork.com/what-is-a-prepper/.
11. “Should a Christian Be a Prepper or in Any Way Involved with Doomsday Prepping?” Got Questions, n.d. Accessed March 18, 2019. https://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-prepper-prepping.html.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.