Hoarding Has Never Been Preparing

We had enough Rice Krispies in the box for one more bowl of cereal. It is a special treat. Every child around the table was eyeing that box as it sat on our table for breakfast this morning. They began fighting over who should have the last bowl. They all wanted it, and sharing wasn’t an option. The squabbling continued until I stopped them…

“Girls! what you are doing right now is what is causing so much trouble in our world today!” They looked at me with questioning eyes. “Yes! I said. Grown-up people want certain things for themselves. They don’t want to go without. They are afraid there isn’t enough to share. Some of them are even fighting over those things…just like you.”

My mind raced back to the sweet old lady I encountered in the condiments aisle last week. She was nearly in tears having been to several stores, searching for a very specific bottle of mayonnaise. She didn’t want twenty, just one, that one brand she was particularly fond of eating… And the shelf was empty.

It should not be. We Christians should not have any part to do with that crisis. Who knows what that dear lady had been exposed to as she searched store to store for her necessities.

As Christians, we should adapt our living to make life easier for others; not play a part in complicating other’s lives. We can make it by with whatever is left of the shelves, we can run from store to store to find milk, we can come up with creative ideas if we run out of toilet paper. Don’t make the scared single, working mom do that, certainly not the ninety-year-old widow who can barely shuffle in the door, or even the other multitudes of terrified souls out there who do not have the Rock of Christ to anchor their hearts in during this time. We have it all, we should not even entertain the thought of buying more than we need right now.

I pointed to the other options on the table. They were less favored by the children, Raisin Bran, Cheerios, Shredded Wheat…There was plenty of cereal, no child would be hungry. My children’s eyes were wide as they reflected on our recent grocery trip and the empty shelves they saw. I waited for the concept to sink in and prayed they would choose wisely. One by one, they each picked another option. I poured out the cereals, and put the untouched box of Rice-Krispies back in the cupboard. There is still enough left for one more bowl…

My children had more sense in their heads than most of grown-ups today. I choose not stockpile anything. In fact I avoided the grocery stores completely for two weeks. My husband did brave one to pick me up a couple of gallons of milk for our tot, but other than that, I simply did not see the need to go out in that chaos. Honestly, we have enough on hand. It might not be first choice, but we will not be going hungry.

For those of us who have homemaking as a career, stocking up right now is particularly selfish. We work at home, we know how much our family needs in a weeks time. Some families are struggling so much in making wise purchase decisions because that are unfamiliar with what their family will need in for two weeks. There are busy families out there who do not even know how to plan meals, cook and the thought of what to eat on a daily basis is frustrating. When I do that sort of thing every day, why should I take food away from such scared people?

I am not saying my cupboards are bare. I keep enough on hand on a regular basis due to my shopping methods. We might be eating up the turkeys I picked up around Thanksgiving for .30 cents a pound for the next couple months, but we will not starve. Turkey meatloaf, turkey soup, turkey casserole, turkey pot pie…any other ideas? I have a food processor and honestly, pulverizing roasted turkey makes the most excellent turkey meatloaf… If we run out of toilet paper, a spray bottle of water in each bathroom could do the cleaning work , with a bit of air drying…I have thought through a few “plan B’s” and am at peace.

well, since I did not go to the grocery store for two weeks in hopes the senselessness would have died down by the time I needed to get supplies. This past Friday, I ventured to a grocery store for the first time since the stockpiling crisis began. I prayed and prayed even the night before shopping, and again with the children before we went out that morning. I prayed that the Lord would provide our family with our needs for the upcoming week. I was prepared to make do with whatever I found at the store. We would figure something out. Everything I needed was on the shelves, including toilet paper! The Lord simply provided for our family’s most basic weekly needs in less than one hour of shopping.

Proverbs 32: 20 and 21 has come to my mind so often through this season of fearful greed.

She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.”

Virtue begins in the heart, it has nothing to do with the size of a pantry, but the generous spirit a God centered homemaker has.

I can be generous and not fearful for a season of cold and difficulty of finding necessities. I prepare daily food for my family, and have been preparing meals for those in church and neighborhood who may need them over the next couple months. Hopefully they like turkey! And as for being prepared, I am not really talking about about keeping a freezer full of food, but having an innovative mindset! I am not afraid, because we will think of something amazing.

In 1999, many families stocked up seeds, and food in case the world crumbled when the computers rolled over to 2000. I struggled with that concept twenty years ago. What would happen if our neighbors had not stored provisions? Would we give them our supply, or defend our stuff? Would we be prideful that we had prepared and others had not? Did our security rest in a freezer full of wheat berries and a handful of seeds? Yet, wasn’t it wise to be prepared? As I grow older, I have settled in my mind, that being prepared has far more to do with our mindset in life than our material state of affairs. It is an ability to cope, ingenuity, and joy during the difficult seasons of life. That is wlorth far more than a dozen cans of corn.

As a mother, am I preparing my children to be okay with having the same meal daily for weeks on end? I do not want my children to hoard food, toys, or even clothing, but children who are so filled with compassion, that they seek ways to give, even their favorites to others. I have had to search my own heart during this season? Am I grateful for everything I eat, or am I too choosy? Am I prepared to donate my last roll of toilet paper to my neighbor who has none, and go without for my whole family? Is my job as a home-maker to protect my family’s provisions, or to share them with others? I doubt when I come to the judgement seat that God will congratulate me for filling my pantry for my family in a troubled time. That hardly seems valuable in the light of eternity.

I realize, there is wisdom in being prepared and ready for whatever lies ahead, but that doesn’t begin when there is a pandemic. That is a way of life. I am, with an open hand, always purchasing bulk deals. That is why I have three turkeys in my freezer, 30# of whole wheat flour, and twenty jars of peanut butter. It is not because a pandemic happened, but because they are items we can use at a very good price. It caused no one to suffer by my purchasing them months ago. That is very different than running to the store, spending money that is not in my budget to fill up a barn I do not even have.

The Parable Jesus told of the Rich Fool has often come to mind as I read stories of people filling their freezers and pantries and going out to buy more….

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:13-21

Hoarding is something godless people do. We Christian’s do not be needing to buy more than we need. We should be the ones going out to buy necessities for our neighbors, giving our last roll of toilet paper to the family next door, and using what God has already given us to bless others in their times of need. Right now, I am working on cooking up some of those turkeys and that flour and filling my freezer with home-made bread soups and casseroles. I am cooking a bit extra on a daily basis. I am not making extra food with my family in mind, but for those we know who may fall ill in the near future or for neighbors who might have difficulty finding food or be at high risk and fearful to go out. My job is not to provide for my family, that is God’s job. And I know He already has provided. I have already seen Him do it…over and over. My job is to be a tool He can use to provide for others.

Hoarding supplies and food is for the faithless and fearful, it is not for us who know Christ.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. hey are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. I Timothy 6:17-19

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.‘ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:13-17