Tooele Transcript Bulletin

To prepare or not to prepareFree Access

Preparedness is a big topic these days. Obviously there are different levels of preparedness. Most people have a spare tire “in the event they need it.” Many people carry some money, in the event there is a problem with their credit card.

Most people have medical insurance just in case there is a major medical problem, and if you are purchasing a home or a vehicle your lender almost certainly requires you to carry some form of insurance that covers their interest.

In addition, there has long been the wisdom of having a family ‘emergency bag’ of necessities, in the event an earthquake, or some sort of disaster in your area forces you to evacuate your family, whether to a motel, or to a shelter.

Of course these sorts of preparedness have been common for a long time, but recently, especially with the onset of Covid, more and more people are purchasing all sorts of items that will be needed in the event of a long term disruption of supply chains, whether it be food, household items, or even fuels of some sort.

I am sure most of you remember the ridiculous run on toilet paper at the beginning of the pandemic. I realize much of that occurred due to panic purchasing; something that can occur to help you feel in control when things are actually out of your control. Personally I would have chosen peanut butter or coffee, or possibly cookies.

But although that episode took a while to work out, it made it clear to many people that the littlest thing can upset supplies for the majority, at least for a short period of time, if not for a long time.

During the pandemic, and just as much since then, I have noticed advertisements for long-term food supplies for a person or a family. Purchasing three months to a year’s supply of freeze-dried food has become increasingly popular.

When you consider how much of our food is actually trucked in from all over the country, and that given a major disaster the food in stores in our valley and Salt Lake Valley would probably be gone in three or four days, then I imagine more and more people are considering having something on hand to carry their family along for at least some period of time.

If you ask people who are preparing themselves in these various ways for a potential future disaster why they are doing so, they would likely tell you that since no one else is going to take care of their family under such dire conditions, they have to prepare for that themselves.

They hope such an event will never occur, but they consider such preparation no different than carrying insurance for their home. They doubt they will ever need insurance, but they would rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

I find it interesting that many of those people, if not most of them, prepare for something that is quite unlikely to occur in their lifetime, and yet they do not seem to feel the same way about something that is certain to occur to them.

One of the things we hear about a lot lately is the outbreak of another world war. If you consider the wars that are currently being fought, and if you consider the high level of tensions between a number of adversaries, like China and Taiwan, India and Pakistan, or many of the players in the Middle East, then you can see why people fear that the current hostilities could escalate to a “world war” with the wrong combinations of provocations.

In fact, a recurring concern, especially within Christian circles, is that of Armageddon. Many fear the right circumstances are possibly converging to bring that prophesied and long awaited war to break out; therefore many prepare for the worst.

Personally I am not too concerned about it for a few reasons. First, I have heard almost every week since I met Christ back in 1973 that Jesus is coming tomorrow, if not later today, but He still hasn’t arrived. Second, all is in God’s hands, so I am not going to worry as to His timing; I may prepare for emergencies, but that event is totally in His hands.

But more than concerned about what MIGHT happen in our lifetime, I am very concerned about what will definitely happen for me, and for you. Instead of worrying about a disaster that might occur, you need to be concerned about an event that will definitely occur to you and me and every single person ever born.

I am talking about the day you die and stand before God in judgment. The Bible is very clear; in Hebrews 9:27 God tells us that it is appointed once to die, and then the judgment. In other words, the way you leave this life is the way you will stand before God.  

That means you either stand before God with Christ as your Savior-Advocate, having been forgiven of sin, and given the gift of exalted life, or you stand before God on your own to answer for every sinful deed you have done, and every wrong word you have spoken.

What you need to be very mindful of is that even one sin is enough to separate you from God for all eternity, being cast into hell forever. And contrary to what many people have heard, God doesn’t send you to hell; you are already on your way there because of your sins. What God does is offer you a way out; a way of forgiveness if you are willing to humbly repent, and put your faith in the Person and atoning work of Jesus alone.

God’s word is clear; there is no second chance, there is no class in heaven. The way you leave this life is the way you stand before God in judgment.

I point this out because although you may spend much time and energy and resources preparing for a disaster that may or may not ever occur, most spend little to no time preparing for that which will unquestionably occur to you and to me, and to every single person who has or who ever will live.

I would never dissuade you from preparing for potential disasters; in fact I applaud if you do. But even more I would plead with you that you properly prepare for that event that will occur without fail.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” No one, not one single person, includes you and me.

I hope World War III never occurs. In fact, I hope a war never breaks out in our region. But Scripture clearly says that you and I will stand before God some day. I will rejoice on that day because I have accepted Christ’s atoning payment for my sin, but I will also be sad on that day because many people choose to ignore Christ’s invitation to forgiveness and eternal life.

I pray you are prepared through faith in Christ. Choose life; choose Christ.

Jon McCartney is pastor of First Baptist Church of Tooele.

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