May 29, 2017

Preparedness Lesson from the Bible on Anonymity

give in secret
Image taken from Van Allsblog

Mathew 6 1-4 NIV

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

 

Granted, I think Jesus was trying to teach that when we give, we should do so quietly and not draw attention to it.  I think this is great advice every prepper should heed.  There are two points that I take away from those verses that I think relate to preparedness; “being gray” and “pat on the back”.

 

Being Gray

I have covered “being gray” in previous articles, so I’ll just touch on it now.  Being gray or maintaining OP-SEC (operational Security) is part keeping a low profile, part not letting others know what you have and part doing what is expected of you, so as not to raise undo attention.

Many people feel a need to share their preparations with those less fortunate.  That is their right.  I will side with the King and say “do so in private”, but probably for different reasons than He gave.  If you share either openly, not hiding it from anyone, or openly with the people you choose to assist, too many people know that you have preparations to share.

One thought I have is to share secretly, leaving care packages late at night on the doorsteps of people who are in need.  This way they get some assistance and OP-SEC is maintained.

 

Pat on the Back

Many of us like to do good things for others.  Let’s face it, being able to help someone in need and receiving their thanks feels good.  At Christmas time, I always make sure to have change on me so I can put some in every Salvation Army kettle I pass by.  I do this for a few reasons; one is that I know this is the time of year they make most of their operating money and I also do it so the bell ringer feels like their time is well spent.  If I’m truly honest, I also do it because it feels good to have the bell ringer acknowledge my putting something in the kettle, though I still donate if they’re on a break. 

My point is that if you feel like you must give publicly to others “when it hits the fan”, do some soul searching and find out why you’re giving.  Is it out of Christian obligation?  Is it just easier to give face to face?  Is it because seeing the joy on their face makes you feel good?

We can eliminate any potential sin issues and keep our OP-SEC by giving privately.  Our Father who sees what is done in secret will reward us.

 

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Comments

  1. I’m a little conflicted on this issue myself; so I definitely appreciate seeing other thoughts on it.

    First, I think of the issue if tithing to the church. Given that one of functions of the church is to distribute to those in need; shouldn’t that by our priority?
    But how would that work in a time of crisis, I think giving in secret still applies.

    Second, I am conflicted on charity. Seldom in the Bible do I see otherwise healthy young people simply given food. Widows, orphans, single mothers (who are working but can’t afford enough) etc yes but people who can work for it seem to be expected to earn at least what is given to them — thinking of the practice of leaving some grain to be left in the field/on the stalk for others to glean.

    Lastly, I am conflicted on how to identify those in need and those using the same lines as a set up for crime. In a time of crisis, that concern will only be greater.

    I think giving through an organized activity and giving in secret is the best approach. Just have to make sure that when I build up, I account for giving as part of how much to buy.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I am conflicted on giving to able bodies young people as well. There are many who’re of the self-entitled mindset who should earn, but then again there are 25% of young people that are unemployed.

      You make a good point about knowing who is in need. I would ask the Lord to point the Lord to point them out, and pray for wisdom. I would be on the lookout for the elderly and families with small children.

      I like the idea of giving to a church as well, but would still want to do it in secret and try not to be seen by anyone.

  2. Chris, great article and great question. I agree with you to give in secret. My reason for this maybe a bit selfish though. I am preparing for a total of 13 and while I want to have plenty for my family if I knew someone especially with children were going hungry I would give to them. Like you say in the middle of the night would be good. I could not do it on a daily basis so if they don’t know where it came from then I wouldn’t have to fear they might come and try to take our food. As much as I might want to help the whole community they have had the same opportunity to prepare as I do, as least I feel most do.
    As to feeding a young man or woman who just didn’t think it was prudent to prepare, probably not. Does this make me a bad person? I don’t know but I hope G_D will judge my heart and not what it appears to be.

    • Chris Ray says:

      Proverbs 27:12 as well as other verses states what will happen to those who don’t prepare. While I don’t think He has tasked us to feed or rescue everyone, I do think we should look for opportunities to be His hands and feet. How/when/who you do this for is something each of us will need to seek God’s will on.

  3. Jim Moore says:

    I think we need to differentiate between a time of crisis where rule of law is maintained and where rule of law become non-existent.
    I believe walking the fine line of being selfish vs. providing for your own will be greatly re-defined if we experience a time without rule of law (WROL). Food and water will be the greatest commodities of the righteous. Giving to others in this WROL time will most likely have to be obvious and our motivations will no doubt change. Protection and cooperation will be great motivators to help provide safety in the form of security watches 24/7 and workers for growing, harvesting and preserving food. Churches will be some of the first places hit by the unrighteous in a WROL situation, knowing they harbor assets for charity giving and perhaps innocent women. Yes, what we all don’t like to talk about, is in a WROL situation women are in danger of becoming a commodity. Protection will be vital to our survival and our trusting nature will be challenged greatly. Unless a ‘Church’ that is stocked to provide for the needy is very well defended and prepared for the extreme, I don’t expect they will last very long. Think of the wild west days of the U.S. and the ‘missions’ that were started. Many of them were fortresses. Knowing absolutely how we will react in a time WROL is nearly impossible but conversations like these are great because we can begin looking at some stark realities and possibilities that we have never faced before and gain insight as to how best handle them, ahead of time.
    If we maintain rule of law, I believe it is always best to give in secret. Even in the tithe I think our best intentions are more like to remain pure if we give in secret and in cash. I say cash specifically because of Church staff and secretaries. Bless them all, they can even be persuaded knowing what others give.
    I prepare knowing much will be shared or given away. Even with knowledge, I prepare knowing my knowledge of local plants and trees will be an asset to those around me. But, even knowing that, I hope that will afford me some leeway in keeping me around and alive, so the purity of my motivation becomes less pure and perhaps selfish. So, you see the fine line we walk. Bottom line, those things done with the motivation of love will our defining. Intent is everything.
    Psalm 139:1-4 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

    • Chris Ray says:

      great comment Jim thank you!

      I remember hearing a story years ago of a pastor in the wild west. Two trunk men came in during a tent service and began cursing and acting a belligerent fool. He stopped preaching, escorted them out, gave them enough of a beating for them to know not to do it again, came back in and picked up where he left off.

      Yes that was a different time, but who knows how things may be if the rule of law is removed.

      • Jim Moore says:

        Thanks Chris. Ha ha! I believe it.
        I have a friend that is a Pastor of a small Church and we’ve talked many times of his need to concealed carry during services. It’s a sad commentary of our society today that demands it in his rural area. Hopefully, when collapse happens, we can maintain rule of law and remain free to not have to watch our backs 24/7.
        Blessings Bro!

        • About 15 years ago a weirdo shot a preacher in our little town, right in the middle of the sermon. The perp ran out the door and before he made it a block he’d been shot six times in the back. Five men and one woman had concealed weapons in church and each fired one shot. No charges were pressed.

          • Chris Ray says:

            In Minnesota they would probably have been convicted. We have to retreat if possible and since the shooter was fleeing, retreat was possible.

    • Jim, do u live in an area w/ lots of preppers? A number of churches in our area in Okla, give food to low income people. some thru a shared food -clothing ministry, & some individual churches. But I do NOT know of any church that’s storing food for a disaster or WROL time. Considering the high % of low income people, it seems like churches are tapped out or struggling just to help some NOW, much less store up to share in a future time.

      • Jim Moore says:

        Hey Red, I live in Northeast Texas. I’m not sure there are a lot of preppers around here. One local TV station did a survey last year and figured about 14% of the respondents were prepping. That’s probably high as to the general population. I don’t know of any Churches that are prepping either. I would like to find one though. More and more folks are struggling here also. Plus, more veterans and elderly are struggling with all of the changes going on.

        • First hand knowledge! There are a number of small, non-denominational churches storing a fair amount of food. When these orders come in, we give any individual members of the congregation wanting to order for personal stock significantly lower or free shipping.

  4. Wow, great article once again Chris. I have always given in secret, as that is what we are asked to do. I’ve been put down for it in church, so left that church. Love helping, and knowing I did is enough for me. If there is any glory, it should go to God, as I feel He is the one leading me, and putting me in a position to be able to give. But looking around me now, I see a lot of people much better off than me…which doesn’t bother me, UNTIL they come to my house wanting that which they refused to buy for themselves, because they were to busy having “fun”, and making fun of me. I find it quite difficult to help someone like that, when I’ve used every extra penny, a hunk of retirement, and a rainy day fund to get to where I am now.
    I think I’m starting a “depressed” phase the last week or so…and I need to keep myself “up”. Am I the only one who sometimes thinks, “why am I doing this…who am I kidding…I live in a neighborhood with a growing number of thugs who will be able to over power us faster than a speeding bullet”. Which I have….but do I have enough, and do I really want to start shooting a bunch of people? Some days are tough in the thinking ahead, prepping way of life! But then each time I have these “bad” thoughts, I feel a strong “push” to keep going and keep prepping. God is in charge, and THAT is what I have to remember always. Sorry to go off subject there for a moment….but NO, I do not feel obliged to “share” what I have with just anyone. Pray my heart will know who really is in need.
    Stay safe, thank you again for all you do, and may God continue to bless and keep you. Nancy

    • Jim Moore says:

      No Nancy, you’re not the only one. Blessings to you Lady. I know too well that depressed feelings of overwhelm and the temptation to give up preparing. Praying for you!

    • Chris Ray says:

      Thanks Nancy. I know what you mean about God deserving the glory. I wrestle with it when complimented on an article or the blog in general. I’ve said in the past that He deserves the credit, I just do the typing; that’s how I truly feel. I friend once said to me on something not related to the site, that when someone thanks you for doing Gods will, you should still take the praise and thank them. He said that dismissing the praise can lead to false humility. God knows our hearts and if we give Him the credit or not.

      • And you Chris are an awesome man also…..but it can’t go to your head, because I shall give the glory to God in what he has done with you! And I DO thank you for your web site, hopefully all the time, as it is so helpful to me. In doing so, from now on, please know that I don’t really thank YOU…..but God for leading you! LOL I know it sounds funny. Hard not to thank you. Trudy can help keep you humble. I think she is a jewel.

    • Chris Ray says:

      I forgot to comment on your statement of a depressed mood. You’re not alone, I wrestle with it now and then, some times the weight of this world can be so heavy. different things work for different people, I try to listen to worship music I like, and things that can make me laugh. I have bookmarked several YouTube videos that crack me up.

      I’m praying for you as well!

  5. I believe God gives us hard times for a variety of reasons, one being to better empathize with another when they are having hard times. Part of helping in secret is to avoid humiliation of the receiver. Inviting people to help me get all the apricots off the trees before they start rotting on the ground and drawing in bears is far more rewarding for all of us than saying, “Hey I left fruit on the tree for you poor people to come pick.”
    As preppers, we get into a rut of thinking solely in material ways. I can’t think of a better time than under utter distress to proclaim the Gospel of Christ through an example of faith and confidence. It will be just as important for us to help others DO things like till a garden spot, dig a hole for an outhouse, improvise a fire pit, set up water catchment, can or dehydrate crops, whatever and etc. I am no prophet but I’m guessing that the ‘rule of law’ will become so imposing before it’s challenged that helping each other in emotional / spiritual ways will be just as or more important than material ways.

  6. The Lord has really blessed me in my career so finances are no longer an issue for me. The downside to this is that some people look to me as a source to meet their needs.
    As much as I love giving, I must do it prayerfully so that I encourage and build up rather than enable entitlement to those in need.

    Something that has developed since my retirement as a school superintendent is teaching young mothers “survival” skills.
    I hold monthly canning classes (on an offering basis only for those who can afford to pay, with everyone taking the fruits of their labor home,) how to make healing lotions, laundry detergent, etc.
    There is a time for fellowship while the jars are cooling or the laundry detergent is setting up, so we can also address spiritual needs as well.
    This is a way for me to give out of my skillsets while (hopefully) building up women around me as well as building community.

    • Chris Ray says:

      It sounds like you’ve found a way to use your spiritual gifts to be a blessing to others. Good on you!

    • Teaching others your skills is a great way to give, perhaps the best b/c it MULTIPLIES your skills & teaching. Eph 4 refers to equipping the saints for ministry.

  7. Thank you for such kind words.

    Living in Oklahoma, I can say that if natural disasters can’t shake someone awake to the importance of being prepared, then what will.
    Additionally, I believe the natural disasters of the past year should also serve as a wake-up call for people to learn how to do things to take care of their families and friends.

    Chris, I appreciate your giving of your talents with this forum. I do pray that the Lord blesses you in many ways. Thank you for being an amazing minister to all of us.

  8. Kathy, I live in SE OKla (about 2.5 hours from OK City, & don’t see people shaken at all by natural disasters, except a few with friends/family in areas hit by tornadoes, & even then, it tends to be very short-lived.
    I’m sure there are a few other preppers in my area, or maybe I’m too skeptical. Will u start or post on a forum thread for people in OK?

  9. Reading comments people post here is a great reminder that the whole world isn’t dark and dreary.

    Sure, the world is full of all kinds of evil, but due to the power of Christ working in people’s hearts, there are still “cities on a hill” out there, willing to be His hands and feet.

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