Sunday, January 21, 2007

Deepening our pantry, deepening our faith

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
Proverbs 22:3

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. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:25-27

So...I've spent days trying to write a post about deepening the pantry. Nothing came together, words tumbled over each other, thoughts didn't make sense. When that happens, I (being slow but not altogether daft), knew God was trying to get my attention. You see, my real passion in life is not emergency preparedness, it that He will meet your needs. That's been the result of Job-like experiences. The more we are willing to submit our life to Him, the more we can trust He is in charge. It may look like total chaos but it isn't. He is still on the throne and the world (and our life) is on His clock...not ours.

Having a pantry is a good thing for anyone. It saves us money in the long run as we can "shop the pantry" and restock when items are on sale. If we make certain we have at least one "extra" of our essentials on the shelf, we will not have to make a trip to the grocery store for one item and come home with two sacks or more of groceries (not to mention the cost in time and gas). It is good to have a 72 hour "pantry" as I've written about before. It is good to have a hospitality pantry where we keep items we can put together at the last minute for company or a tea party for the family. It is especially good to have a pantry with our basic food stuffs, just like families have done for a hundreds of years. It is good to have "extra" in the freezer and refrigerator. It is important to have the knowledge to cook/bake/stew/simmer/put-together basic meals for the least amount of money. All good to do and to know so I have continued to add links for this knowledge for you to come back to as time permits.

What I realized, why the words were not coming together's not about the stuff. You can find all the information you need to put together and deepen your pantry elsewhere. What I know, what I have experienced, what I want to share is is all about Trust. You may pray and feel God wants you to deepen your pantry so you have months of food and supplies on hand. You may pray and He wants you to only keep a basic pantry. Both require obedience to His will for your life, He knows the future and that path you will walk through in the months to come. What He doesn't want from you is fear.

I remember about a year ago, praying about something my son wanted to do at the time. The only reason I didn't want to do it was it would require me having to drive at night. I do not see well at night. I do not like to drive after dark. I see well enough TO drive, I am just uncomfortable. I can remember God dropping the answer into my heart as much as if He shouted it in my ear. It was so absolutely real...His answer. "Never make a decision based on fear." in absolutely never...make a decision one way or another because I am afraid. Fear may influence any decision I make to be the wrong decision.

We must never deepen our pantry because of fear. We must never keep from deepening a pantry due to fear. I saw this in 1999 with one of my best friends. I knew God was calling me to deepen my pantry and I had the money at the time to do so. My friend had prayed and felt God was telling her the opposite, to purchase some extra items of food but not to deepen her pantry very much. She and her husband felt they were to buy a generator of all things (and not much extra food?). Well, in the year that followed my family went through a job loss and was able to grocery shop from our pantry. We learned a valuable experience in what we would use in an emergency (in this case a job loss) and what we wouldn't (nothing would make my son eat beans). My friend ended up moving within a few months (and wouldn't have wanted to move all that "stuff") to an area of the country where they lost power quite often. Hmmm...that generator came in handy. God knows...

It is important to spend time with Him before the crisis. We don't plant the seeds when we need the harvest. We plant the seed and give it time to take root and grow in our lives so when we need to hear from Him, when we need that Word that is stored in our heart and mind...we are ready.

Sometimes we do not understand what God is calling but we have to learn to hear Him. We don't hear Him perfectly but the more we try, the better we get. When we returned here from Michigan, we knew...with no doubt...He was calling us to come back here. We had no money He was asking us to completely step out on faith much more than He ever has before. However, He has required that faith through the years which built up to this moment. He also had the circumstances in place which required us to make that decision (the house we were living in was being sold). cyber pals had gotten together and sent us some money for the first step. Renting the first U-Haul, the gas that would take, and a month's rent on the storage unit for all of our stuff. Then we had just enough money the next week (almost to the penny) to again rent a U-Haul to take the remainder of our "stuff" to the storage unit and we could stay at a friend's house for a week. We had no money for food and we were doubtful there was enough money for gas for the U-Haul and our car. As we were backing out of our driveway, our next door neighbor came running to tell us goodbye. Our neighbor...not a Christian...looked a lot like the biker dude he was...our neighbor we had shared Christ with and told him our story...came to say goodbye and tell us he would miss us. He handed us a $100 bill. He just "felt" it was a good thing to do. He had no idea we had no money. God did...God uses everyone He can when he needs to meet a need.

So my friends, the two verses I have placed at the top of today's blog post may seem to contradict each other but they don't. We are to prepare for tomorrow when He tells us to do so. We need to ask Him if we are to give up some of today's luxuries to have basic needs set aside for tomorrow's crisis. Sometimes He tells us...yes. Sometimes He tells us...don't be concerned, He will take care of tomorrow. Both verses are absolutely Truth.

Once again, as the angels say...fear not.


G.L.H. said...

This was beautifully, beautifully written. It is so true that you must do something like this under the direction of the Lord.

In 1999, I had the thought that even if we stockpiled food, that the food could become unusable (as in the worms contaminating manna that they tried to "keep over.") God is the One who is our provider; we must never take that position for ourselves.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

Jan said...

Amen! Amen! I am glad you followed your previous posts with this one. Trust is the key.

Sandra said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful post. You have put into words something I've felt in my heart but didn't know how to say. Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

One of your best posts Brenda.
I tend to fear and I know I need to trust much more than I do.
Thanks so much for the reminder.
Joanna :)

Laura Talbert said...

I echo the sentiments of the previous commenters: very well said and much appreciated :)

Heather Anne said...

It has taken me a long time to learn that God will provide in HIS perfect time - He does not need me to HOARD anything! We have enjoyed the deep blessings of giving everything we are not using away, only to have Him provide exactly what we do need and in just the right time! Trust not hoard, but at the same time be prepared! Another one of those delicate balances of walking in faith! Thank you for this terrific reminder.

Joyful said...

Wonderful post. I'm visiting from Georgene's blog "Living on Less Money". I enjoyed what I read today and am learning more and more to seek God in decisions great and small. Thanks for the encouragement.