Preparedness: Becoming a Storehouse
Part 3 of a 3 part series by Robert Foster
I was raised on a farm, the youngest of seven children with a father who lived through the great depression in Arkansas. There were certain values he learned during those days that he passed along to me in my early teens. When people arrived at our small farm to buy produce, Dad would often mentally size up the people who arrived. If they looked like they might be a little on the “poor side,” he would often slip an additional basket or bag of something into the back of their car when they were not looking. When I asked him about it, he answered, “It’s just what we do. I know what it’s like to be hungry.”
I remember the day I asked him about it. A car drove up to our farm with three small dirty kids and a tired mother who practically crawled out of the car. I remember she was really looking over the boxes of peaches but seemed a little nervous about the price. That day she paid for one box, but I’m sure she discovered she had three when she got home.
The Jews got into an argument with John the Baptist; they felt they had the monopoly of understanding about God. John’s response to them was:
“…And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same” (see Luke 3:8-11)
Many years ago, we were taking care of my wife Kathy’s grandfather. We were managing a garden on his land that was about two acres in size. His well never produced enough water for both the house and the garden, so we “dry land” farmed—it only got watered if water came down from the sky. The years we grew food only for ourselves, we had “just enough” for our own use.
However, the years we made a deliberate plan to grow food with the intention of helping another family, we had rain more often. Not only did we end up having enough food for us and them, but we had to find creative ways to give the overflowing abundance to others. Abundance often follows generosity just as a poverty spirit often follows a clenched hand.
Be On Your Guard
“People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless and have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces.
Hoarding is not the same as collecting; collectors look for specific items, such as model cars or stamps, and may organize or display them.” – American Psychiatric Association
One day, Jesus got pulled into a family argument concerning brothers and their father’s inheritance. So he told them a parable showing them how not to fall into the trap of greed. However, he ended it by giving a stiff warning that should make us take a closer look at the motivation behind what we are doing. “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Greed and hoarding are the bad little twins of fear and self-centeredness. Their roots grow from the main tap root of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the plant world, anything that sprouts up from the main root we call “suckers.” These suckers suck the wisdom out of blessings and bring coldness to one’s life. And coldness brings a narrowness not authored by Christ, thereby bringing death.
So being “on your guard” means to be aware of what is going on inside and around you, because the temptation to withhold comes from within and without. At times when I have found myself slipping down this road, I didn’t realize my vision was getting distorted. I find it usually takes an event, person, or prophetic word to shake me. What this tells me is that we are the gatekeepers of our own soul, and He needs to shake us from our sleep to help us see clearly. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14).
Kathy and I are challenged in a new way these days. The methods we have always used for stocking up are now gone. We sold our farm in Washington State, and we are now renting. Also, we are now both employed. So we have very little extra time to do the things we have always known to do. However, we discovered some new ideas for stocking up, and it seems to be working. We are transitioning from bulk canning and freezing of food to preserving it dried. The two ways we are accomplishing this are:
1. We buy freeze dried foods in large cans. Thrive, Mt. House, Emergency Essentials and other places are offering good pricing on a large variety of vegetables, meat, and pasta products.
2. We dry it ourselves, which is the lowest cost alternative for us. We bought a Ronco food dehydrator, and whenever we buy a few extra vegetables from the store, we dry them. We have found the easiest and fastest way is to use frozen vegetables because the freezing process has already removed part of the water. About seven to eight pounds of frozen mixed vegetables will shrink down to fit into a quart jar.
Also, any of these items will quickly rehydrate when you have little time to cook a meal. Your home dehydrated foods can easily be mixed with the freeze dried product to create many good quality meals such as lasagna, tacos, Alfredo chicken, fudge and others. Am I making you hungry yet?
Almost anything you eat can be preserved. I have even heard of people getting so creative that they have made a beef stew, ran it through a blender, and then cooked it on low until it started to get thick. From there, they spread it thin in the dehydrator to make a “beef stew starter” that looked like fruit leather.
Here are a few things to remember:
- Do not store or preserve things you would not eat. We had a friend who bought several gallons of ketchup for Y2K, her thinking was, “You can eat anything with it.” The only problem was she hated ketchup, so after that non-event she gave it all away.
- Variety is your friend. In high stress situations where war or some other thing has happened, people have actually suffered from “food fatigue,” they became malnourished or died because they simply could not eat another bite of the same thing day after day.
- Consider your dietary restrictions. Do you have a problem when you eat certain foods? An example would be a person who has a bad reaction to eggs or milk. This may seem obvious, but you should take this into consideration when purchasing food for storage.
- Foods that keep you energized. For example, potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. A deficiency in potassium causes fatigue, irritability, and hypertension. Some foods containing potassium are: beans (18 to 35%), tree fruits (20-33%), squash (10-21%), fish (10-18%), mushrooms (4-11%), bananas (10%). Also many herbs, molasses, pineapple, and most tree nuts contain this mineral.
What is my point? You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Acknowledge your fears, but then quickly move on into what God has for you—preparing you to become part of His storehouse of provision in the days to come. Learn to share what you have with others, because your “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke12:15).