Generosity in Dire Times, by Elli O.

Warning: This article may be considered controversial by some readers.

During this global pandemic it seems as if TEOTWAWKI could be just around the corner. Daily the media is not only reporting the number of infected and deaths, they are also reporting on different shortages- both real and unsubstantiated. Some are in the present and others in the near future. First it was toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Then it was N95 masks and disinfectant wipes. This past week it was meat- poultry, beef, and pork.

For those of us who have been preparing for such times, we were not shaken as those who had barely enough food in the cupboard/fridge to cook tonight’s dinner. We didn’t panic when the toilet paper aisle was offering nothing but empty shelves. And now, when meat may be as scarce as toilet paper, we are busy feeding the livestock in our fields and serving dinner from our freezers and pantries.

But what do you do when you learn of someone in need of these basic items (food, personal care items, etc.)? Now is the time to share from your bountiful harvests and prior planning. Now, when desperation is beginning to settle in their minds and hearts, is a great time and opportunity to teach them about preparedness. These world events that have affected them within their own home could simply be a wake-up call to the preparedness lifestyle.

TO SHARE OR NOT TO SHARE

But should you give away some of your larder? Should you take the chance of exposing your seemingly endless supply of daily sustenance? Should you become as easy a target as the neighborhood soup kitchen and food pantry? These are just a few of the questions that must be answered prior to the situation arising.

Am I suggesting that you advertise the expense of your pantry? Au contraire. The knowledge of your preparation is the main lifeline for your survival during desperate times. But the question of whether and when and what to give from your storehouse of supplies must be handled with discernment and discretion.

DISCERNMENT

Let’s first look at the idea of discernment. The dictionary lists this as the ability to perceive, grasp, and comprehend the fine details; to judge well. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that God can give us discernment when it comes to how to give help, when to give it, and to whom to give it. I have friends that have compassionate hearts and would give away their last morsel of bread. But because they also have the gift of discernment, they give wisely. Sometimes they give resources and sometimes they give assistance in the form of knowledge.

And I believe that even if giving of our possessions doesn’t come easy for us, I still firmly believe that we should use discernment when we do give. Some questions we can ask ourselves are these:

  • Are we giving out of pity or guilt?
  • Are we filled with compassion (love that is prompted to action)?
  • Is God the one prompting us to give?
  • What specifically do they need- some food, a bill paid, knowledge?

We need to prevent a knee-jerk reaction to someone asking for help and promote an informed response to their needs. Thus, discernment is the key.

DISCRETION

Now let’s talk about discretion. Webster’s Dictionary states that discretion is behaving in such a way as to avoid revealing private information. Again, we don’t want to advertise the depths of our cupboards, especially now that some items are becoming harder to obtain. But we can still share from our bounty and remain in the shadows.

At times when I am prompted to give, I can generally find a go-between to deliver the goods. Often times it is our pastor and his wife. I trust them and their ability to keep our identity confidential, while sharing what we have with those in need. Discretion is a practice of the gray man (blending in to his surroundings) and one that can provide great protection during such uncertain and dangerous times.

Another benefit to being discrete is the spiritual blessings. Jesus warned us in Matthew 6:1-4:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

So discernment and discretion should act as the guardrails for our giving.

CAN YOU SAY NO AND FOLLOW THROUGH?

But what should we do when all of the stores offer nothing but empty shelves and the government has not come to the rescue? What if it’s too late for a garden and your neighbor’s pantry is bare? What will you say when a mom with young children come begging for bread? These are questions that must be answered long before they become a reality. When they are knocking at your door is not the time to call for a family meeting!

When this topic has been discussed outside of our family, we have listened intently without much participation. Some folks believe that it is our duty to share with those who have less, and that God will replenish all that we give away. Others believe that there will come a time when those who failed to prepare, especially after knowing of the need to prepare, should reap the emptiness of their inaction.

Of course there is always the discussion regarding the ability (or lack thereof) to protect the preps from those who desire to take them by force. On this property we all value life and would be visibly shaken and permanently scarred if we were forced to take a life. But we also realize the need to prevent desperate/evil/lazy people from taking the very items keeping our family alive.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS OR CLOSED FOR THE SEASON?

There is a Bible parable regarding one part of the traditional Jewish wedding in Biblical times. Although it pertains to being spiritually ready when Jesus returns to earth, I believe it also provides guidance regarding sharing our preps during desperate times.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Jewish weddings had several parts, lasting well beyond a year. First, the future bridegroom would leave his father’s house and go the bride-to-be’s house-which would most likely be her father’s house. The groom would pay a dowry to the bride’s father and then return home to his father’s house and work on preparing the home for his bride. This prep time was generally a year. When the preparation was completed he would return to her house and claim his bride. He would bring her back to his father’s house for the ceremony and celebration.

The bride would know the approximate day of his returning but not the exact time. She would wait with her bridesmaids (also referred to as virgins) for his arrival. Now, let’s read the parable…

Matthew 25:1-13

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were prudent and wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any extra oil with them. 4 The wise, prudent ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready left with him and went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch (be alert, prepared, and ready-one version says) because you do not know the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return.”

When studying this parable, I noticed that there was no nasty or judgmental comments made by the virgins who had prepared and brought extra oil. They simply said no and gave a reasonable suggestion for the problem at hand. Unfortunately, for the foolish virgins it was a case of too little, too late.

Yes, as stated before this parable pertains to being spiritually ready to meet Jesus face to face and give an account for our lives. But I also believe that it gives great guidance to the question of generosity during desperate times.

RELEVANCE TODAY

There may come a time when we will be asked to share what we have with those who have neither worked for nor bartered for our supplies. And we must be prepared to either:

1.) Share our food and thus, over time, greatly decrease the supplies for our own family (because you know that the word will spread as to who has supplies), or,

2.) We must be willing and able to say no, and to defend not only our decision but our resources.

I believe that at this time, God has blessed our family so that we can bless others. But when the “Schumer hits the fan” and our world as we know it collapses into chaos, we will close our pantry doors to the outside world. This decision was not made out of fear or selfishness or greed. It wasn’t made as one last act of defiance to all who mocked us as preppers. This was the result of prayer and searching the Bible for guidance. We try to make to most of every opportunity to teach others to be prepared. The events of recent days have provided fertile soil in the hearts of many to receive the concept of being prepared. We are excited about the chances to share what knowledge and experience we have in regards to prepping with those who will listen (using discretion and discernment, of course!)

For us, we resolve that our first responsibility is to our family and those living on our property. And that means that all the livestock, food preps, tools, written literature, all the items that we have worked long and hard to obtain, will NOT be shared with those outside of our property.

For our family the decision has been made. We will not be sharing.

Editor’s Closing Note:  I am confident that this article will spark some lively debate in the Comments section.  Please keep your comments civil, and avoid any insults or personal attacks. Please debate the merits and detractors of various approaches.




104 Comments

  1. I think that although there are risks to sharing in that perhaps those who you shared with repeatedly return for more or tell others that you have these items, I personally will try to share what I can. Yes, I will prioritize the well-being of my family but this doesn’t preclude sharing as I am able. I don’t have large stores of supplies now given my particular situation and I haven’t yet had any time to figure out how long we could live on what I do have. But I have put some things aside with the intent that I will share as I can. I’ve already given an N95 mask to a grocery store clerk who asked if anyone could give her one; cautioned her that I didn’t have any for others. I have some extra garden seeds, a few extra copies of very useful books and some healthy food to share if needed. I also grew way more veggie starts than I could possibly plant so will share those if needed as well(the planting date for most stuff hasn’t arrived here yet in the far north). I also donate food to the food shelf. And of course I share what I know how to do.

    I guess I look upon it as people have been generous with me at various times in my life and I try to be that way as well. Pay it forward. But I respect that this is an individual choice and we each have to make that choice for ourselves.

    1. From Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’, Chp. XVI, ‘Concerning Liberality and Meanness’:

      “It is good to have a reputation for being generous. Nevertheless, generosity exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for being generous, injures you. If you exercise it modestly as it should be exercised, it may go unnoticed, and you will not avoid the reproach of being a miser.”

      From the same author’s ‘Discourses on Livy, Preface’:

      “Since the desires of men are insatiable, Nature prompting them to desire all things and Fortune permitting them to enjoy but few, there results a constant discontent in their minds, and a loathing of what they possess, prompting them to find fault with the present, praise the past, and long for the future, even though they be not moved thereto by any reasonable cause.”

      Of the two works, ‘Discourses’ is arguably a better reference, with ‘The Prince’ being a shorter, although not lesser, work.
      scott

    2. As a Jew, I take a traditional middle road; share with the weak and vulnerable such as women, children, the frail. But young strong men, or men who should be strong, need to get off their backsides, and man up!

  2. Dear Elli, This is a great article!!! You are right in that we need to be talking, praying and deciding what to do, now, ahead of time. For some, this may be an easy and fast decision to make. For others, there may be wringing of hands.

    Interestingly, the Matthew 25 parable is the very one I have been pondering in my mind! How do I find balance? With scriptures such as: Matter 7: 12-14, John 15:13, Matthew 25: 35-36, Luke 6: 27-36. And yet, the Lord keeps putting that odd parable in my mind, and now here in SB too, to contemplate!

    I really like your time table: You are giving and helping others now while it is safe to do so. When it becomes a dangerous threat to your loved ones, you will not put them at risk.
    IMO, only a socialist would expect you too.

    I believe there is no one size fits all answer for these coming circumstances. Past articles and comments here on SB completely opened my eyes to the possible consequences of sharing post SHTF. Boy, was I educated. I think there will be many of us broken hearted that we can’t help and save everyone we see. I foresee psychological trauma affecting many. I think talking about this ahead of time, regardless of whatever decision one makes, may mitigate the trauma and sorrow.

    Another huge bonus of talking ahead of time, is children will know the decision has been made for xyz reasons, and not look at you in horror when it actually happens.

    Case in point, long ago, after a near car accident when I swerved my minivan to avoid hitting a squirrel, I resolved to never put my children’s lives at risk again over an animal. Fast forward a year, as a crested over a hill going 50 mph, there were three raccoons in the middle of the road. Two ran away, but the other one froze, staring at me. I knew I was not going to swerve and risk crashing with my kids in the car. I remained straight and steady and tried to center over the raccoon so the wheels would not hit him… Thump. Thump…

    I’ll never forget it… NOT the raccoon.
    The look of sheer horror on my four children’s faces looking at me like I was the devil incarnate!

    I literally had to pull over and try to explain to them how God made people more precious than animals with souls, et cetera, and I couldn’t risk their lives by swerving. It took me twenty minutes to calm them down, and this was over a raccoon! We saw dead raccoons on the side of the road all the time. It would have been so less traumatic for them if I had explained my resolve and reasoning the year before. Imagine the future when it’s people’s lives we’re talking about. We will need all the mental strength we can get to prepare for the possibilities to come. Bless you for bringing up this topic.

    Call me weird, but two days ago, I started printing off some horrible news stories. I am creating a, “binder of evil.” All it will be is news stories from now, before shift, about normal looking people who did evil things. It only has one purpose. If or when in the future someone is going to disagree with me that I don’t want a stranger coming in to live on the premises, I’ll say, “Here, read this. This is what normal looking people did before things were bad.”
    I guess you can say I vividly remember my kids looking at me like I was the devil, and I don’t want that happening again. By anyone. Yikes.

    For me, I believe the Lord will speak to our hearts and guide us, even as He is teaching us now. If I have extra, I will share anonymously, never at the gate. I don’t have a place or a gate yet, but when I do, I’m going to have my Tunnel Rabbit piece of metal hanging near the gate so I can “ping it” when necessary. Thanks T.R.!

    If one wants to keep their loved ones alive, these are the tough decisions that will need to be planned and carried out. It will not be for the faint of heart. Bless you, Elli, for having the moxie to write about this. Krissy

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I also have saved articles about the world in “normal” times to include LEOs, politicians, teachers, principals, school board members, and superintendents. Without seeing someone’s heart, we do not know them. Anyone can dress up and act a part for a few minutes. As time goes on and conditions change, we are offered glimpses of truth that were hidden at first.

      By explaining your rationale to your children you are teaching them to think for themselves and speeding up their reaction to a situation which could have disastrous results if decisions are not made quickly enough.

      For those who do not hold God as supreme, everything is based on themselves. How do they feel about the situation rather than an absolute like God. God offers us wisdom, we need to ask for it as instructed in James 1.

      1. Hi, ACOG, What you say is so true. I read James 1 again, and am copying your reference on wisdom
        .
        James 1:5-8

        5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

        Thank you for encouragement to ask for wisdom. Blessings.

    2. Hi Krissy!
      From your post: All it will be is news stories from now, before shift, about normal looking people who did evil things.”

      It was especially interesting to read this from your post given the times in which we’re living. As conditions grow increasingly difficult, people exhibit increasingly strange (and potentially dangerous) behaviors. We saw this directly and personally in the aftermath of 9-11, and the crash of 2008, and we may be seeing signs of these behaviors now. The financial buffer created by federal stimulus (and other social safety net programs) may slow the deterioration in some ways, but the risks appear to be increasing. Some of these behaviors will be more obvious. Others will be more stealth.

      We encourage everyone to be both cautious and discerning — believing that discernment is a fine art, a refined skill, and a spiritual gift.

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

      1. Hi, T of A, Yes, I understand we are in bad times, so much so, we are making history. But I can’t seem to forget something that Oldhomesteader said this past week, something about how we will look back and think these were the good times, because things are going to get seriously dire in the future. We have luxuries available to us still, gas, electricity, internet, cell phones, t.v., hot water, showers, washers and dryers, fast food, groceries, et cetera. I feel blessed even in lockdown. This was my reasoning now is before the shtf… BTW, I’m in Washington state looking at the Cascade Mtn. range, probably 3,000 miles from you and your mountain range. May the Lord bless you and your loved ones, and keep you safe. Krissy

        1. Krissy! Thank you for your insightful message. My husband and I grew up in the PNW, and know the beauty of the Cascades. Even today we have many family members who live in your part of the country. The landscape is spectacular. …and you are so right… Even in the current lockdown, we are blessed! Oldhomesteader is also wise to offer the warning that conditions may yet deteriorate further. To the best of our abilities, continued preparation remains very, very important!

    3. “I’m going to have my Tunnel Rabbit piece of metal hanging near the gate so I can “ping it” when necessary. Thanks T.R.!”

      Hey Krissy, I burst out laughing when I read this. I have mine too, probably one of the best Ideas I’ve read all year. Somebody needs to come up with a name for this, seriously! It sounds to me like a trademarkable device and we can send royalties to Tunnel Rabbit. 🙂

      I have some shooting targets built on the idea, but they’re much too small to use for this purpose. But the same idea, a larger piece of metal that hangs down and pivots, which is attached to an iron support in the shape of a “7”, or an arch, which could then be easily bolted to fence post or tree trunk.

      Seems like they’d sell like hot cakes at gun shows, prepper festivals, etc. Optional logo on the front could read…”Make my day PUNK!”

      1. Hi St. Funogas,

        Glad you like the idea, yet I cannot claim it as my own. There are established business that sell all kinds of hardened steel targets in various shapes and sizes, that can take the punishment from high powered rifles. Here is one such source if you can’t make it to a gun show:

        https://shootingtargets7.com/

        Of course any thick plate of steel will work for our purposes, and perhaps an ugly chunk dented with impacts, and bullet holes might be more instructive and less expensive. A local welder might have just the right piece of scrap lying around. Use heavy chain to hang it. If one will only use it sparingly, a discarded frying pan, or many frying pans from a thrift store could work. Suspend it from two points so that it can put into position and oriented correctly. Thanks for the kind comments. We are all in this together, and learn together.

        1. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, I think you’re being way too modest. While the idea of steel targets has certainly been around for awhile, it never occurred to most of us to set up a steel plate at our far gate and to ping it as a warning for would-be trespassers until you mentioned it.

          I checked out the link you posted and while putting something together from a lot of different parts would definitely be a fun day project for guys like you and me, most people would either never get around to it or not even want to try to tackle it. What I’m envisioning is something they can buy for $29.95, pull out of the box, and take their cordless drill out to the corner fence post or tree and just with three deck screws or bolts, attach that baby in two minutes and be done with it.

          We’ll call it the Tunnel Rabbit Punk Pinger® while we’re waiting for some more creative souls to come up with a better name. 🙂

          1. “We’ll call it the Tunnel Rabbit Punk Pinger® while we’re waiting for some more creative souls to come up with a better name.”

            “Punk Pinger” has a nice ‘ring’ to it. And if it actually ringed like a bell, that would be a useful selling point (sizzle). But how did you do that cool copy write thingy (R in side the O bit)? I enjoyed marketing in school because I had a hard charging professor retired out of the corporate world. He dressed like Rodney Dangerfield.

            Essentially it is about selling the sizzle, then the steak. I can easily design such, and it should be made out of AR500, or at least half inch, and smaller in diameter plate to reduce shipping costs. I can do the metal work as well if I had the equipment. Perhaps it should be in the shape of a rabbit? Howabout a version of the ubiquitous smiley face with a mean frown that is in keeping with the connotations of “punk”? It would be child’s play.

            It is fine idea you have, yet it also requires at least some capital, and the social exposure during gun shows and other events. Online would be the way to go. I’m afraid I’ll have to stick with my current business plan at this time. Perhaps others can run with this for their fun and profit. In my book, it is thought that counts, and I thank you for that.

        2. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, lots of good ideas. Too bad we’re not younger men with lots of capital and extra time on our hands. 🙂 I was thinking the back of the pinger could be used for the address numbers for the residence as well, that way the Punk Pinger ® looks less conspicuous.

          The ® is pretty easy. I used to type a lot of things in Spanish and there were no characters on the keyboards for things like ñ so the trick is something called a “character map.” They used to be a standard piece of software on every computer but they started phasing them out ten or so years ago. Check yours, it may have one, if not, you can probably download one for free.

          On the character map, you find the character you want to do, such as ®, and when you click on it, down in the lower right hand corner it will show “Keystroke: Alt+0174” That means while holding down the Alt key, you type in 0174 and it will produce the ® in your document, email, or whatever. The other way to do it is to just highlight it in the character map and do a copy and paste. But by typing them, you learn them pretty quickly and don’t have to look them up anymore.

          Here are some of my most used ones:

          ALT 0176 = ° (degree sign 78°)
          ALT 0162 = ¢
          ALT 0188 = ¼
          ALT 0189 = ½
          ALT 0190 = ¾
          ALT 0169 = ©
          Δ I used delta T a lot but this one you have to copy and paste.

      2. Hey, Saint, Glad I could make you laugh. I agree with you that it is an awesome idea. I love the name you came up with,

        “Tunnel Rabbit Punk Pinger.”

        I hope I never have to use it, but reality is I’ll probably need replacements after wearing it out. Hope you are feeling more like your normal self again. Krissy

      3. Thanks!…. grrrrrr…. I got to thinkIng of the rest of the line, “Do you feel lucky punk?” Which then led my overactive mind onto another tangent thinking of Peter Frampton’s Do you feel like I do, which is now repeating endlessly in my mind.

    4. Krissy, you made me laugh with the “pinging” remark! We took some old security signs from a previous house and used them for target practice and then hung one on each gate. Makes for interesting comments from the delivery people.

  3. I regularly provide food and service to an elderly couple who live near by. I will continue to do so. The problem is their useless kids and grand kids. They only come around when they want something. In the past I have provide fresh eggs and veges for the couple only to find out the kids came and took them. Now, I cook a meal, only for two people, and take it to them just before breakfast or dinner time.

    Once the husband was taken to the hospital an hour away while his wife had to stay home because she no longer drives. Their kids disappeared into thin air. I had to take the wife shopping, to the hospital and provide support.

    1. I feel for you and your “friends”. The younger “under 30”, or perhaps “under 50” generations have lost their faith in God and have become very selfish. I remember this being an issue even when Reagan was President.

      1. 22 year old checking in. While a lot of my generation is lost, there is a strong remnant of us who are believers. My generation is very split, there is the nonbeliever, partying, selfish, lazy group that are typically discussed by the media and the older generations, but there is a second group of hardworking believers who honestly really dislike the more vocal group because they make the rest of us look bad. It isn’t hopeless. According to some sources I follow, the younger generations are more conservative than the older generations were at our age. To be fair, they are not all necessarily believers, but at least better than the leftists that the mainstream media and leftist politicians seem to think we are). There is still hope.

        1. Hey Jonathan, welcome and glad to hear your thoughts. There are a lot of my generation (Boomers) who are in the “nonbeliever, partying, selfish, lazy” group you mention too who are in such dire financial straits they’ll never be able to retire. Your generation is going to have a very tough row to hoe but for me, it was never about “generations,” people are people and whatever the individual decides he’s going to accomplish, he can do. I’ve heard so much bad press about Millennials over the pat 10 years and then one day it occurred to me that all my kids, all my nieces and nephews are Millennials, and they all turned out great, with good jobs, and families and careers… so it’s the few vocal losers that always get the bad press. Your generation is going to do just great.

          I hope you’ll stick with us and give us the younger perspective from time to time. 🙂

        2. Jonathan ,,,about a third of our group are younger ,and have it together. You are the ones that we are handing off to ,it thrills a old mans heart to see you young folks come in to the group ,

          Shalom

          1. I’m jealous of them. I have been largely on my own in prepping (my parents are outdoorsy and have a lot of the skills, but haven’t really gotten into the prepping) and would love to have a mentor.

          2. I admire your spunk, Jonathan. Also, your insight at your age.

            As you seek a mentor, work to clarify what you want from a mentor. If for instance, you seek wisdom, see if you can boil that down into components of wisdom. Your choices will evolve. Prayer will, of course, help guide you.

            Some men have more than one mentor. Perhaps one offers spiritual nurture and will teach gardening and food prep.

            You have what it takes to succeed.

            Carry on, in grace

        3. Jonathan Logan, thank you for your input. I have three children, ages 17, 20 and 25 and they all love the Lord and are very conservative. Even after homeschooling and attending college they hold on to their conservative biblical beliefs. My daughter has a mug that says “I survived college without becoming a liberal”.

    2. Animal House

      The reasons you stated above are exactly what and why I do for my parents. I want them to enjoy their last years without worry so I cook all of their meals for them and label each container (I get the disposable meal containers) with what meal is in each one and instructions on how long to heat up in the microwave (I don’t allow them to use the stove anymore, they have Alzheimers). I make each meal with two portions so mom & dad each have their own container.
      I have profound gratitude for you for doing this for these folks!! I bet they are as grateful of you as my parents are of me.
      My siblings are selfish and don’t bother with them. That will be on them when mom & dad are gone.
      The elderly deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, thank you for what you do.

      Have a Rockin great day

      1. I have a somewhat controversial view on the elderly. Or maybe a more realistic view. Age does not make a person better, or kinder, or wiser or anything. A person that was selfish, spiteful, mean or nasty doesn’t become a saint when they reach their golden years. On the other hand a decent, kind, loving person may increase these attributes as they age. I judge each person on their own merits, young or old. Be wary of all people when you have first contact with them until either you know them or have reason to trust them. There are many senior citizens that will take advantage of you and many that are or have been criminals.
        My Little Granny lived to be 103 and she was the kindest person I knew and my grandmothers also on the top 5 list.

  4. The question of sharing to me is, how sure are you of your salvation? How much trust and faith do you have in God?

    If you are sure of your salvation, giving away your preps will bring you to joy and happiness sooner than staying alive with your preps. On the other hand, if you trust God to provide for your every need, giving away your preps would be evidence of your faith in God to provide. (It may also be the way God is providing for those in need.)

    The widow who gave her last two mites is not just about giving all, it speaks volumes about her faith. The lad who gave all his food is also a great story of faith although we always look at it as a miracle of Christ’s providence in multiplying the loaves and fishes.

    Even though we read these stories and believe they happened, we still doubt. Why do we doubt? More importantly, why do I doubt that God will care for me? I must have less faith than anyone. I understand prudency and preparation for others, but I feel it is a failing of faith to prepare for myself.

    The Holy Bible is replete with stories of the ancient Israelites and Jesus’ own apostles doubting Him. They are God’s people that have seen great fabulous miracles and spoke with Him, and yet they doubted.

    It is my intent to share as and when needed, based on my faith in, and trusting on, God. As my faith and trust wane, I will share less and as they grow I could give it all. I know what I want to do, but I am afraid I won’t do what I know I should. I can’t decide ahead of time.

    I hope the decision is easier for others.

    Buy the way, I don’t have that much, so unlike the rich young ruler, I don’t have much to lose.

    1. I don’t see prepping as a lack of faith, but an act of faith. God told Joseph to prepare for 7 years of famine so he would be able to provide for himself, his family, and the people around him. Noah was told to build an ark and fill it with food so that his family and the animals could survive. 1st Timothy 5:8 says “anyone who doesn’t provide for their family is worse than a nonbeliever.” Ecclesiastes 11:2 Says “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.” Proverbs 6:6-9 says “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 13:16 says “A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it!” Proverbs 22:3 says “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it.” The Bible has tons of examples of either God instructing us to have some level of preps for the future or specifically telling people to prepare for different events. The danger isn’t in the prepping itself, it is in how we trust God through the prepping. We are told to prepare, but not to fear. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow can worry about itself. God will provide, but he often does it through people preparing in advance.

  5. Sharing with those you are pretty sure will repay the favor shown – okay. Sharing with those who have proven they will take advantage of you – nope. Not a good risk. My wife thought she was doing a kindness to some neighbors who were left without a working vehicle. Three adults in the family, only one works (who is now left without a job due to Covoid). She ‘helped’ them by taking them on short range driving errands. This was over two months.

    My wife broke her ankle in February. When they asked her to drive them on their errands, she told them it would be unsafe. Did they offer condolences – offer to help her ? Nuh Uh – nope. Even now, they ask how she is doing, but I now see why they ask her condition. Not for her sake – it is for theirs.

    That makes me unkind, I guess. But I’m a realist and stand by my decision.

  6. If you do choose to share, do so without any expectations. That is, do so without expecting to be repaid and even without the expectation that the resources given will be used wisely.

    In fact, my favorite way of sharing is by giving to those that would have no chance to give back.

  7. You set the hook with the lead in that this may be controversial! But there was no controversy. My take away is that, through much prayer and Biblical application, we need to consider our charitable ways.
    Another scriptural application that I see as applicable is the fact that Jesus did not heal everyone. He only did what brought glory to the Father.
    Well written and thought out article. Thank you for your efforts. I am sufficiently challenged!

    1. ‘Jesus only did what brought glory to the Father ‘. I think this concept is the crux of the matter as to when and with whom we should share. It brings God no glory when we give to someone who is lazy and just taking advantage of our charity to continue shirking their own duty to work to provide for themselves. And we can end up very bitter and jaded from being taken advantage of.

      It does give us an opportunity to glorify God when we are able and willing to meet someone’s need when they can’t understand why we would make such a sacrifice. The latter situation can open a door for us to come alongside someone to give them The Good News, and hope for the future.

      As we respond to God’s leading in other areas of our lives, it seems we should also approach charity with the same spirit of seeking His will.

      KarlitosV, thank you for bringing up this point. I had never considered that before.

  8. I share with friends and family that share with me.
    Those who have demonstrated this in the past are either welcome at my table, or they are not. It’s not about compassion or kindness, it’s about reciprocity. Do unto others as they shall do to you. You share with me, I share with you. If you don’t, neither do I!

    1. I agree with your premise to a point. It isn’t to do to others what they do to you, it is do to others as you WOULD HAVE them do to you, or what you would like them to do to you. Treat them how you want to be treated, not how they treat you now or how they will.

  9. One of the constant comments that haunts me I heard while serving in Bosnia was how the situation came on so SUDDENLY. One day they are neighbors dealing with the craziness and helping each other. Then suddenly ambulance drivers got stabbed to death doing their jobs, young women were being assaulted by their OWN families for loving someone outside the accepted grouping and off to the ethnic cleansing they went.

    Scripture says it best Matthew 24:19 How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days.

    Read the scripture before and after, it speaks to the suddenness of the CHANGE from normal to chaos.

    That is the problem of discretion and sharing when things get insane. The timing and knowing who you can trust not to SHARE your generosity tendencies with. HUNGRY People have EXCELLENT Memories, ask anybody that feeds stray cats how hard it is to get them to leave…..

    Having the Pastor do the dangerous job of sharing to the needy seems curiously unfair to him and his family. I guess if he serves like Paul the Apostle from a Roman Jail KNOWING death awaits him then that is Ok. BUT PAUL did NOT have a Family to support or protect….

    When I was working in Africa I witnessed how the famine workers feeding FAMEAL to the starving HAD to have an ARMY Platoon around them to protect them from being robbed and worse. Paying bribes to the local gun bunnies was better than the mercies of those you were there to “Save”.

    BTW FAMEAL is an interesting survival food worth learning about. Commonly served as thin whitish gruel AND thus Uninteresting to the Armed Thugs it is a “Foody” tasting meal. Wheat or Corn 50% plus Beans or Lentils 40% all ground together plus 10% cooking oil and sometimes extra vitamins added. It can be made with less water into a heavy muffin or bread. Actually not bad tasting once you got used to it. Often made in the field using animal feed grade wheat-corn-beans just sift through to keep the rocks from damaging your grinder OR delivered in Purina Human Chow premade extruded mixes.

    Before you say ewwww, fussy eaters will starve when things get crazy, and humans have been eating beyond the plastic wrapped foods for centuries before plastic was even invented.

    In the starvation of Hyperinflation Weimar Germany CAUSED by the Government printing money like crazy (sound familiar?) cats were hunted and eaten, served with the name Roof Rabbits.

    When the Pharaoh was disturbed by a weird dream about 7 fat cows and 7 lean cows EATING the fat cows, Joseph interpreted it for him. Are we in the 7 years of lean cows? I for one am prayerfully thinking we are in the CHANGE moment between helping each other and chaos as in Bosnia.

    Pray for wisdom and ACT on it.

    1. I recently read a book by William R. Forstchen. tilted ” One Second After ” a fictional account of what might happen if a EMP burst was set off over the U.S. and how people handled and lived with and though the aftermath. It is scary to think about something like that happening and how to live with it. Just a thought.

      1. Read the whole series. Excellent reading and somewhat scary. But hope! Our excellent President just signed the EMP preparedness bill requiring gov’t agencies to EMP-proof their stuff.

  10. Wow. I resist thinking of this possibility and yet I really appreciate your thought provoking ideas. We do have a God given responsibility to care for our families and to help, as we can, those who cannot care for themselves. One thought is to set aside 10% of your storage for giving to others, sort of a tithe. There are parables about the foolish who expect others to bail them out. We’re not encouraged to do that for they’ll not learn to stop being foolish. I have a compassionate heart so would/will have a hard time saying no to many. I don’t think I could send a hungry child away if I had food as they aren’t responsible for their plight. But then my own family is my primary responsibility. May God have mercy on all of us if it ever comes to this.

  11. Thank God we are all different!
    And the Spirit moves us each to achieve His Will.
    What giving to help others looks like for you is not necessarily God’s plan for everyone. Some times I get upset at a brother or sister for their different way of attending to others needs. Then (epiphany) I’m no even in control of dispensing the oil I’m given.
    Reminded of Christian friends who refuse to arm themselves. Got to love them even when, me “No Comprende”.
    Thank you for keeping giving Relevant.
    LuvYerBro

  12. Elli O-

    Re: “ But what should we do when all of the stores offer nothing but empty shelves and the government has not come to the rescue?”

    Prior to the Great Depression people would not have looked for food assistance from the government. Prior to the Great Depression it was Churches that helped those that needed food. Why aren’t we asking our churches to take this task back- they would do it much more effectively.

    When we look at this issue – providing from our limited resources to help someone with even less- we can look through several “lenses” and come up with several answers. If I look at it from my Faith lens I should give what I can. My safety and security lens says “no way”. Most of our lenses have an emotional component And that is why we should look through the logic lens.

    Do you know a lot at least get a sense when someone is lying to you? When you say you can’t help someone will they sense deception in you? When you have an orchard, a garden and chickens running around it becomes “I won’t help you” not “I can’t help you”. For many of us having to knock on a stranger’s door to ask for help with food is unimaginable. But think about where that person or family is emotionally. We all need the low tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs met. When we don’t we through out our civilized “norms” and revert back to our natural tendencies which is to survival at all costs. Simply telling someone “No” isn’t going to solve the problem, in fact it may make it worse. Sun Tzu wrote that the best battle is the one you never fight. Going back to the Great Depression many orchards, gardens and chicken coops got raided by the hungry, I suspect that many of those who did the raiding asked for assistance first. My point is desperate people do desperate things. We can say I will set up security but considering that I tend to believe most people are “lone Wolf” types of a family based Group pulling off “effective” security 24/7 is going to take a majority of your man hours. If everyone is pulling security, what doesn’t get done? Wood doesn’t get cut, gardens don’t get weeded, water doesn’t get hauled, etc.

    I am not insinuating that we just give everyone what they ask for but I think we need to carefully evaluate with logic, not emotion, what we do. I suspect that most people who “ASK” for food would be willing to trade some labor for it or perhaps they have something to trade. But make no mistake this Approach has risk with it too.

    Right now we are thinking food but and we might have enough not to worry. But what happens when we need something we don’t have? Perhaps the person we told “no” to is the person that says “no” to us.

      1. The church is us, not those over-mortgaged buildings with the fancy programs. I haven’t been happy with ‘Church, the Institution’ for a long time, and church leaders bowing down to bureaucrats and Congress critters in the name of their tax-exempt status is a big reason why.

  13. An excellent article. You fairly explored both sides of the issue, and I did not find it controversial at all. All of us preppers need to be thinking about this now so that we have a plan for it (sound familiar? 🙂 )when the SHTF.

    Tractorguy

  14. Thank you for the article. It’s a good exercise for all of us to think this through. Many of us have lived a very sheltered life and have not experienced extreme violence within our own families or neighborhoods. Even reading news reports about violence is something many people won’t do. The “I don’t want to think about it” mentality is understandable. However unless one takes the time to, at the very least, understand the depths of depravity in humankind, our innocence may get us or our family members raped, brutalized, and killed. I forced myself to view the video’s available on youtube regarding the world wars, especially the ones that focused on what happened to the disabled, the elderly, the Jews, and many others. I forced myself to read the Gulag Archipelago (3 700+ page volumes and I’m not done yet) to understand what happened during the Socialist revolution in Russia and the aftermath. I force myself to read the latest indictments on justice.gov/news. I force myself to review crime events. MS-13 gang members tied a man to a tree and took turns slicing off parts of his body just miles from one of my daughter’s homes. I didn’t relay the news to her. She lives in a very nice neighborhood. She has small children. She knows how to shoot, has an alarm system, and the neighborhood has a “watch” program. While I don’t focus on these evil things, it is a good reminder to me not to be so trusting. My worst failing is being naive, trusting, a bleeding heart. This wonderful compassion and empathy that I have must be applied with discernment. I have to constantly work on it. Could I pull a trigger? Yes, I think so, but I work on that mental game because it’s not within my nature to hurt anyone. I think it’s important to understand one’s personality type and mental attitude and role play the scenarios one might encounter. My family members who are in law enforcement are capable of maintaining a tough mental game, but it’s taken a huge toll on them (may God bless and heal them) because they see the worst of the worst of humankind. Man’s inhumanity towards man is something most of us cannot comprehend. Our American war fighters do understand and their sacrifices must never be forgotten. Satanic forces exist, and I long for the day when Satan and his demons will be thrown into the pit forever. Until then, I know that Satan is alive, and his demons inhabit people.

    The story of the 10 virgins and the lamps/oil is one of my favorite parables for why I prepare. I have a few family members that say preparation is a demonstration of my “lack of faith” and I point to this parable but I don’t argue. I point to the story of Joseph who was tasked to prepare Egypt for a 7 year famine.

    I have family members, that are so naive and gullible they can’t be reached (intellectually), so I pray God’s protection over them. Whether it’s their “choice” to not prepare, or their interpretation of scripture, or fear of acknowledging evil, or … I can’t fix it. So, I prepare. I can only do what I am called to do.

    I have a very large family and I’m already clear on my boundaries with who is welcome here at the “safe house”. Regarding charity, it is part of my normal lifestyle. Regarding “preps”, only a couple close family members who are like minded are informed, but not even they know the depths of it because the knowledge of it could be an eventual liability for them. My intentions are to care for my large family should SHTF.

    I do hope everyone stays cool and offers helpful information to challenge one another intellectually rather than point fingers and lay blame, which is never helpful. We each have our own perspectives. We need to each do what we think is right.

    1. SaraSue!
      A thoughtful and insightful post you’ve shared.

      From your message: “Satanic forces exist, and I long for the day when Satan and his demons will be thrown into the pit forever. Until then, I know that Satan is alive, and his demons inhabit people.”

      This is truer than most people understand and know with any degree of depth. What I can say is this… Having seen the face of evil, I could no sooner be convinced that it does exist than I could be convinced that there is no God, having also seen the Face of our Heavenly Father.

  15. I am often moved by the comments of SB readers. I have developed a great deal of respect for this community, a respect that is deepened even now by the thoughtful, honest responses to Elli’s post.

    My wife and I believe that we are compelled to share out of our surplus and we share out of compassion, not out of guilt (thank you Elli). We continually encourage our friends and neighbors to observe and learn from Genesis 41. It is much easier to share from your surplus if you have a surplus to share from!

    Still, we are cognizant of the dangers of sharing during a SHTF situation, especially living in a high density area as we do. Michael references lessons learned from his time in Bosnia. The most powerful (and soul shattering) lessons that I’ve learned since the Lord spoke Proverbs 22:3 into my ear are the lessons I learned from the books by Selco Begovic, a survivor of the Bosnian civil war.

  16. When someone knocks on your door they usually are prepared at that point to threaten you or push their way in or throw a rock after being turned away, you need to be able to stop them before that point. I have nothing to share but a lot to trade, if they want food, they can gather firewood to trade, and they don’t get the good food, they get the expired can of asparagus or a cupful of dry kidney beans. The old saw about giving a man a fish to feed him for a day versus teaching him to fish so he can feed himself for a lifetime rings so true, they want to be fed without having to make any effort to feed themselves. Try setting aside some seeds of peasant vegetables (corn, beans, squash) to hand out, bet they will turn them down and look elsewhere for an easier mark.

    1. On the subject of giving without over-giving, Radio host Barry Farber had an essay about giving beans and rice for free to the hungry and eliminating all other forms of wealth redistribution and food stamps. He said that beans and rice will keep body and soul together and provide excellent nutrition at a low cost. When the recipients tired of their free diet, they would have incentive to work and buy their own food. I tape recorded the essay and wish there was a way to share it with you all.
      But what will I do if a friend or relative comes to me hungry ? In my preps I have a stock of food for me and my family and the only things that I have enough to share are peanut butter and rice. I would give them a couple pounds of rice and a jar or two of peanut butter. It would tide them over for a day or so but I think not encourage them to come back again and to go elsewhere for something more appetizing.

  17. Elli,

    Many thanks for an excellent, well-written and thought provoking article! I agree wholeheartedly that today is the time to decide what you and your family will do to help others, and not wait until the others are “standing at your door”. I also am encouraged by the mature replies of SB readers. The Spirit will lead each and every one who asks, and just as we do not all “look alike” or “sound alike”, we will not all be led alike. That does not make one or the other of us wrong; we are just different in the Kingdom.

    Balancing “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Mt25)” with “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1Tim5) requires great discernment, prayer, and faith.

    Sometimes, the most difficult part of walking the walk is not throwing stones at the brother whose walk doesn’t look exactly like yours.

    I have a close friend, a believer, who I view to be lazy. On one occasion when he and his family were over to dinner, he saw one (of several) of our pantries, and remarked, “I know where we’re going when TSHTF”. I had to politely tell him, “No, you aren’t. The gate will be shut. If you want to eat after TSHTF, you’d best be preparing today.” I, for one, will certainly trade with my neighbors, but I will not be “helping” anyone who the Spirit has not specifically urged me to help.

  18. I suppose we all have been there. and that is that you have people who you care about, that have the financial ability to prepare for themselves and their families, but will not, since something else is always a priority or they simply do not believe that they will ever have the need. They visit me here on my farm many weekends during the summer and then the fall hunting season. They are aware of my preps, but I have tried to tell them as graciously as possible that they bear responsibility for their own well-being, and if things do become truly bad, that I can’t be their provider. They must make a substantial contribution to their own well-being. I do not feel un-Christian for making that clear.

  19. From the SurvivalBlog heading ‘About Us’ ~ Rawlesian precepts:

    “Charity is a Moral Imperative. As a Christian, I feel morally obligated to assist others that are less fortunate. Following the Old Testament laws of Tzedakah (charity and tithing), I believe that my responsibility begins with my immediate family and expands in successive rings to supporting my immediate neighborhood and church, to my community, and beyond, as resources allow. In short, my philosophy is to “give until it hurts” in times of disaster.”

    [Elsewhere on SurvivalBlog is advice about giving charity >safely, from a physical distance away from the recipients, while remaining personally anonymous for safety too.]
    ************
    The Sheep and the Goats ~ Matthew 25 NIV translation:

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  20. What happened to living the biblical sense of hospitality? How about Jesus’ command to “give to all those who ask of you”?

    I have gone to the cities frequently in the past, and almost always run into someone asking for money. I always give one dollar. Sometimes they ask for more and my answer is “My personal policy is to give a dollar”. Only twice have I been told “I’m hungry”, in which case I accompany them to the nearest fast food place and buy them something (yes, more than a dollar’s worth).

    In the old days and still in Europe and the Middle East exists the concept of “hospitality”, which you can research on your own. During the Depression and the Wars my family would “lend a cup of sugar/flour” to neighbors, and give some other items with it. People would help each other, both in the city tenements and in the rural areas.

    Mind you, I am not denying you your right to defend you and yours. Perhaps we preppers have gotten too possessive of the possessions God has given us.

  21. Hmm, in some ways, this is an interesting article, in some ways. I consider myself a christian, but not a die hard, fanatic catholic like some I’ve known in my life time. but all of these sayings by Jesus, did he really say all of these things, really. Most of what I’ve read or have been told are from other books of the bible, written by people that lived after Jesus was gone, 50, or longer yrs after wards. My grandfather ( who I didn’t know, heard much about from family legend ) has said that every body needs the bible to live by, but the problem he stated was the bible was written by people who ( who hadn’t walked with Jesus ) thought or might have said that Jesus said this or this of that, and then Grand pa went to say the next problem was the interpretation of the bible by people who interpret it to their way of thinking. I was once told that God was testing me, if that is the case then I’ve failed the test, big time. If God is all knowing and caring, then why does he allow wars, famines, sicknesses and man’s inhumanity to man and all of the other unknown crap that has happened. I guess I’m saying this because I lost my wife of 48 yrs to terminal brain cancer ( the same as what John McCain and Ted Kennedy had ) Guess I’l get off of my soap box now, it’s getting really wobbly and unsteady. Hmm, maybe I’ve been watching too much about ancient aliens on tv, ( and yes I have too much time on my hands )

    1. Bible research in the past 20 years, including exegesis, has revealed that the book of Matthew was written 43 A.D., Mark before about 60 A.D. — taking dictation from Saint Peter, Luke interviewed the Blessed Mother for much of his material (probably before 70 A.D.) and John wrote about 90 A.D., perhaps his gospel much earlier. Since Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven 33 A.D. — some have said 29 A.D. to align with the year of Herod’s death — then Saint John is the only one writing beyond 40 years after that. Two of the four gospel writers were Apostles who knew Jesus and two wrote on behalf of someone very close to Him.

      Now, do you remember various things you did with your father or mother or someone close to you 40 to 60 years ago? Do you remember things that were said? I do! How much more so with people 2000 years ago who memorized much more information and Scripture than we do today? Jesus and the Apostles spoke two to four languages (Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and perhaps Latin). I think it was very easy to put down in writing things in their memory that they undoubtedly repeated verbally hundreds of times to the thousands of disciples who were added to their number.

    2. 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. The New Testament was written by people who knew Jesus with the exception of Luke, who wrote based on first person testimony. As for what other people or books, forget them for now. Get a bible, sincerely pray for understanding and discernment and start reading. Let God’s word speak to you and make your own conclusions, whatever they may be.

    3. @alfie “If God is all knowing and caring, then why does he allow wars, famines, sicknesses and man’s inhumanity to man and all of the other unknown crap that has happened.”

      God is perfectly just, but He is also perfectly patient. He allows men to transgress for a while but only for a while. Consider the alternative, if His justice were swift, who would be left in the world? I am grateful that He has been patient with me. I am grateful too that He has been patient with those who have harmed me. I understand the love in that. But yes, it is hard.

  22. Here’s how I see it, I have stockpiled plenty of goods to make me comfortable with my preps, and I will continue to stockpile as time and opportunity allows. There is always work to be done, and those in need have something to barter even if they only have the clothes on their back. If you come to me in need and you have something I can use, even if it’s just labor, we have a chance to work out a deal. There’s always plenty around here that will need doing; far more than I can handle, especially in a crisis situation. So I am doing the easy part now and acquiring as much as I can within reason. I don’t mind bartering, especially if I have plenty and can spare something I already have in exchange for something else I need. I consider that to still be cheritable, and a win-win.

  23. Really not sure about this article. It magnifies many of my own insecurities, and inner doubts. Generally speaking, I am a compassionate person, and will, when able, be the first to help others in times of need. I am also dedicated to the health and safety of my family. So how do you balance this equation.

    I’m here, so obviously I prepare to at least some extent. I don’t trust that the government can be all things, to all people, all the time. I don’t believe they are a “benevolent master” that will look after the individual. So, as a result, I try to make sure that I can look after my loved ones by preparing for hard times. But that independent attitude can also make me resentful of others. I have worked, and sacrificed to be prepared, while you were out having fun, and squandering away your opportunities to prepare – and now when things get tough, I’m supposed to look after you? If it’s my responsibility to be able to look after myself and my family, isn’t it your responsibility to be able to look after yours?

    We, as Christians on this site, feel the responsibility to share, to tithe, to put aside for charity. But that also creates a problem for us, in that we then have to decide how/when/to whom, that charity is given. Helping out your neighbor, by giving him food, may seem like the “right” thing to do. But, unless your larder is truly limitless, you won’t be able to support both his family and your own indefinitely. So what happens when you can give no more, and his family is starving. He comes back to take? Do we then wind up having to defend ourselves and our family from the very person that we have helped? And by doing so, we condemn his wife and three small children to death? It quickly becomes a lot more complicated than a raccoon.

    In the end, we tell ourselves that, “we can’t save the world.” We admit to ourselves that if it all goes sideways, that “hard” decisions are going to have to be made. But, I have to ask myself, if I’m really prepared to make those decisions. And having made them, am I still the person that will be welcome in our fathers house?

    Then, there’s the part of me that says, “Why prep at all? Why the worry and the stress? The goal here is to try to live a good, decent life. Die. Go to heaven. Why are you trying so hard to keep from achieving your own goal. Besides, we’re all going to die in the end anyway!”

    So if I fail as a prepper, I may wind up succeeding in my ultimate goal? Ah…….questions, questions, questions, and no real answers to be found.

  24. A reply to Michael’s post with a personal story to share.

    Michael – Excellent commentary and thoughts worth considering as we try to sort out where we are on this journey, and what is likely to come. It surely is “one day” and then the “next day”, and conditions can change so quickly. In fact, conditions can change in a single moment.

    I would like to share an example from personal experience with SB readers in the hopes that it will provide insight and perhaps protection for others. I will do my best to share the story without betraying OPSEC, but at the same time not withholding so much detail as to deplete the telling of it.

    It all began with the planning of an anniversary weekend, and the charm of a AAA travel magazine featuring a quaint and historic town just a few hours from our home. It very nearly ended in a robbery and violent assault, or worse.

    It wasn’t what we expected after a long, lovely, and beautifully scenic Sunday drive. It was such a wonderful day. The day had been filled with stops for photos, a hot cup of coffee at a delightful local shop, and the kinds of conversations that are filled with hope and happiness for the future.

    We arrived in the town late into the evening, at about 10 PM, and checked into a hotel chosen en route. We were so looking forward to the next day. The sunrise. The delight of the historic surround. The time together.

    The room to which we were assigned was on the back side of the hotel, and one floor up with elevator access in addition to the stairwell. It also had an open air walkway overlooking a residential street not well lit and filled with landscape vegetation.

    We took a few of our belongings from the vehicle up to the room, and returned for a few additional items. It was all so entirely innocent. …and then quite suddenly it wasn’t.

    On our return for those additional items, we took the elevator down, walked the sidewalk to the parking lot, and stepped down onto the asphalt. We spotted three men approaching us, two from one side, and one from the other. Every sensation became more intense. Every observation more acute. I remember how it felt when my foot came to rest on the pavement as I stepped down from the sidewalk. It was such a curious thing.

    We continued forward toward our vehicle, and the men drew closer. The five of us were the only people in the parking lot, and it was dark. They were clearly converging on us. The intent of these men was absolutely clear.

    Firmly, I called out my husband’s name. He immediately made the drawing motion for his firearm. At this point, the men were just 15 feet from us and closing quickly.

    As my husband’s hand gripped his concealed pistol, the oldest of the three men called out a “no-go” code to the others, but one of the younger men argued. The older man said that mom had called, and it was time for dinner. Sure, yes… Dinner was ready at 10 PM on a Sunday night, and this was the conversation in a dark parking lot in front of a hotel. The younger man replied, “I already ate!” His voice was aggressive, and his tone was angry.

    Ultimately the older man’s instruction (a “no-go”) prevailed. My husband and I stood still, watching every move. My husband’s hand never let go of his pistol, although he did not have to fully draw the weapon.

    …but this was not the end.

    On the departure of the three men, we gathered our additional belongings quickly, went to our room, and locked ourselves inside — very well armed.

    Just a few minutes passed, and there came what we have called a “curiosity knock” at the door. It was the sort of door tapping sound that is just enough to get your attention and cause you to open up the door, but not exactly the sound of a deliberate knock that announces the definite presence of someone on the other side.

    I hurried to the peep hole which was covered from the outside, and then for armed cover with my husband which was limited at best.

    Based on the direction of travel of the three men after they left the parking lot, we were sure they walked beyond the hotel’s office, to the side of it, and walked to that dark residential street filled with vegetation. It was most assuredly from that place that they watched us. These predators knew exactly where we were, and which room was ours.

    We turned out all the lights, and positioned ourselves. We used the phone to call the front desk, and to ask for 911 assistance. As it turned out, the hotel was just a couple blocks from the police station (small town, not entirely surprising, but terribly convenient under the circumstances). We knew we were facing the risk of violent invasion in a very limited space without much time to respond should there be a forced entry. Our weapons were trained on the door and on the window (fingers off the triggers) until law enforcement arrived.

    Before opening the door, we carefully confirmed that the individual on the other side of it was indeed law enforcement. We also disclosed that we were armed both to the hotel desk and with the arrival of the officer. Our conversation with the local LEO was detailed, he was helpful, and he patrolled the area through the night as we slept. We were thankful for his assistance and reassuring presence, although we were also very clearly aware that had we not been able to protect ourselves “in the moment”, law enforcement would have been left to investigate a terrible crime after the fact.

    A couple of important takeaways for anyone who thinks this cannot happen to them…

    1) If this can happen in a charming historic town filled with old world Americana like the one we were visiting, it can truly happen anywhere.

    2) If this can happen to us, it can happen to anyone. My husband and I are both very tall people — think Trump tall. We are not easily shaken, are confident in our demeanors, and we are sturdy. The words “shrinking violets” would never be used to describe either of us. No one who sees us would imagine that we are “easy prey” in any way. The word “brazen” has been used to describe these thugs and their actions.

    We are thankful for all that we learned through this experience. There were many lessons, and for all our life years, training and preparedness before this, we can say that we are even more so for having survived it. We are grateful for the opportunity to share this with others, and hope that our experience will help prevent this from happening to someone else — or help them survive should they face such a danger. We are deeply concerned about the future, and that these dangers may be increasingly commonplace.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. This topic is the best one for comment reading, but your story truly made me think long and hard. After reading your account of danger was to me a wake up call and a sudden response of fear inside me rose up. Thank you for retelling your story of a situation we/I could be in. Your handling of it was thoughtful and sober. As for me having disabilities has me truly scared for what I’ve been shoving away from my thoughts but realize it will be upon us and soon. I pray God’s protection over me and his church. I’m going to have to find someone to talk to about how best for me, with disabilities, to handle a situation as the one you told. Thank you again to all the commenters out there, as for me, may I pass along wisdom. God is truth, he cannot lie. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He spoke the words, “You have not because you ask not. Ask and it shall be given.” All I have asked for has been given to me. I will freely give to those who come calling as God took me in and gave to me seven fold. Seriously if someone makes it up to where I live on foot they deserve some water and some food. I know God will move me to know at that moment those asking vs those demanding. I feel all of us here will do the same to help out our fellow man to give them a meal and send them on their way. If by doing this act charity brings the ‘takers’ then they will reap what they sow, as I/we won’t take kindly to that.

      1. Oma! We are praying protection for you and your family, that the Lord will relieve your fears, and lead you to good solutions for your safety and security. We pray that you will find ways to live safely and securely, with peace of mind and heart and soul.

        Thank you so much also for sharing your thoughts and concerns about disabilities. Our youngest son is a developmentally disabled adult person who is medically fragile, and his disabilities do create tremendous vulnerability. We are ever aware of this, and especially sensitive to the risks for him, and for others who live with disabilities.

        Although our son was not with us in the situation described here, he was with us at another time when we were driving home and came upon a vehicle blocking a 2 -land road (by parking the vehicle across both lanes) — lights off — and probably hoping we would get out of our vehicle to approach and investigate further.

        Having just come around a gentle bend in the road, we saw the vehicle blocking the road, and stopped immediately with about 200 meters between our vehicle and the one blocking our path. In fact, we had been traveling home from a day out at a lovely and well known historic park a few hours from home. It was dark, but the drive was familiar to us. But… The area was rural, no street lights, no places of business, not even so much as a gas station or convenience store where we could get help. …and no police station anywhere nearby.

        We knew the road was winding, and we were driving our truck. My husband and I were in the front seats. Our disabled son was in the back seat. There was simply no way to back up fast enough, and no real way to turn around. No cell service. No radio towers.

        We decided to wait, in the dark. It was a stand off. There we sat for a full two minutes which felt like 2 hours. We were armed. We were simply not going to move, but we did have the advantage of being able to talk quickly through our options and choices, and a couple of what-if scenarios.

        …and then quite suddenly, the lights of the parked vehicle were switched on, the car started up, and they started driving in our direction.

        My husband hit the gas, and as the other vehicle passed us, they tried to run us off the road. We held steady, and stayed tightly in our lane. It was a very near miss, and quite scary.

        Since that time we have only traveled on that road a couple of times, and each time we have marked the place this happened in conversation. It was yet another experience that will not be forgotten.

        ….and yes. We did follow up by phone to the nearest sheriff’s office with a report. Absolutely. Although the number of LEOs in that area is extremely limited, we knew it was important to make the report.

        We believe and trust that God has a great purpose in having revealed to us (and to others) the dangers of our earthly world through these and other experiences. We pray that the sharing of these will help others to raise their awareness, and to use that awareness to be safer in every way.

        Perhaps what is most shocking is that each of these dangerous experiences has been in a place one would never think of as “at risk”. This may be one of the most important lessons. Criminal activity happens everywhere. It happened while we were traveling for our anniversary. It happened while we were driving home from a trip to a beautiful and historic park. If I were to mention the name of this park, I am certain many readers would recognize it simply by virtue of the number of visitors it receives every year. There are other stories for another time, and each of these includes that very same take-home. Crime happens even in the places you might least expect it, and in some ways, these places may pose some kinds of greater risks. Remain aware — and engage thoughtfully considered, appropriate, and reasonable safety precautions.

  25. I live in a nice middle class neighborhood. Since the pandemic began I see the school bus stopping at the two stops in the neighborhood and it waits for about 20 minutes. The bus driver stands outside. The parents or kids walk up and are handed lunch. Why?

    I know half of these people well enough to know that they can afford to feed their children. If the bus didn’t show up with lunch mom would make it. In fact in half the cases mom has to make lunch for the younger kids who don’t go to school yet. So why are we making lunches that aren’t needed and driving them around town? And why would any self respecting parent go along with this? I must be too old to understand this.

    1. In some cases, the people paid upfront for those lunches for the school year, which got re-arranged from going to school to taking classes online. The schools are providing the meals that were previously paid for. If they are going beyond that, then you question becomes that more important, as where is the money coming from to make these lunches?

    2. The school district counts free lunches needed/ given each year to determine how much money they get from government to fund the free or reduced program. The higher the count the more money for the following year.
      No one wants kids to go hungry. The school does not know who recently got laid off during pandemic so they are offering to all. We do not always know what happens behind closed doors to know if it is needed. Also some who need it can’t come get it, parents working or unwilling the delivery gets it to any who might need it. The school is still paying employees so the cooks work and so do the bus drivers.

    3. OneGuy – I will weigh in on the subject of school lunches! I am a school secretary so I have first hand knowledge of this topic. March 13th was the last day for students in our district and in the surrounding districts and the neighboring county districts. Within about a week a plan was in place to start feeding students and within about two weeks the plan had evolved to what it continues to be through the end of this week. Feeding students was MANDATED BY OUR GOVERNOR. ALL students are eligible for the free meals, not just the students in the free and reduced lunch program. With a student population of approximately 3,600, k-12, the district is handing out 1,600 meals, three days a week. Students who are not on the free and reduced lunch program can get the free meals without their prepaid accounts being charged! I go into the office two days each week for a few hours and one of my days is a day when food is distributed. You wouldn’t believe the cars that are lined up; late model Cadillacs, SUVs, and enormous trucks.

      In our state, if a family receives any type of assistance from the state, the children qualify for free meals. This includes the children who vacation in Aruba at least twice a year, families with mothers whose nails are salon-manicured and sporting trendy fashions, and families who have an extra $50 each month to put on the student’s lunch account which will allow them to purchase ice cream, ice tea, Gatorade, chips, etc., that are not components of the free lunch.

      There is no pride left in the majority of the population. When a mother brings a forgotten item to the office for her student at 10:00 a.m. in her pajamas, or a father fist bumps his son when coming to the office to speak to the principal because his middle school son was caught having sex in a stairwell, it doesn’t give me much hope for when things really go south.

  26. We have a saying about the Marine Corps: “No Better Friend—No Worse Enemy.”
    The time may come when Americans will be forced to apply this logic with all human encounters…

  27. This may sound harsh but here goes, Today no one is without excuse with the internet, library’s and history as an example it is clear to see how far we have all gone astray.
    There is so much wisdom to be gained from scripture and each person will have to account for their deeds while on this earth and that is not for me to judge.
    However my thoughts always goes back to the story about the ant and the grasshopper and when i look around i see it in my church my town, everywhere.
    Yesterday i had to drive to the big city having not been over there for about a year i was quite surprised as to how much construction and growth is still occurring one thing that really struck me was a vendor was set up on a somewhat busy intersection corner selling his product and there were people out looking over his wares. Want to know what the items were? hot tubs!
    I recall a story from my old next door neighbor who is now since passed away and he remembered when he was a child in the great depression and when people would knock on the door looking for work, the only thing they could offer was a bowl of bean’s that was always on the stove and a place to stay in the barn over nite with the one condition of no smoking in the barn; He told me that they never had any trouble and they were always gone in the morning i”m afraid that would not be the case in today’s world!
    I have been sounding the warning about preparedness since 9/11 and to those who think I’m a nut i shake the dust from my feet and leave and to those who listen I’m more than glad to pour into them, but the day is rapidly approaching when the gate will be closed and locked.

  28. Hello T of A. A great response to the situation you and family were put in.
    After reading everyones post here on SB this article takes me back to the reason I started being a daily reader of SB years ago. It was after reading Mr Rawles book Patriots. If your sharing with strangers you may have to hand them a can of beans while you have a gun pointed at them. Safe and charitable.

    From our holler in the Appalachian redoubt

  29. Thought provoking.

    After many years I have made some observations about charity.

    In the US, under current conditions, most who SEEK charity, do not deserve it IMO. Those I have just gave things to through some charitable organization, either did not really need it, or were not willing to change their behavior (usually drug or alcohol abuse) to avoid continuing to need assistance. There were a few exceptions but the bulk fell mostly into these categories.

    Regarding street beggars, I feel the situation has changed over the last few decades. Perhaps 20 years ago, I felt even the street drunk was somewhat deserving and was also thankful to receive something. Even others with mental issues were thankful and deserving. The vast majority on the street today are drug addicts that are one step from robbing you rather than begging now. I did run across a young black man in Louisville KY a few years ago that was clean, sober and just wanted food. I bought him a foot long Subway sandwich and he was very appreciative. But he is an exception these days.

    I am reminded of stories in the Super Dome in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Food trucks showed up offering free food. People lined up and because many did not like the type of food offered, some became belligerent and scared the food trucks off.

    If someone is SEEKING charity in the US at this point in time, IMO they typically do not deserve it and in a fundamental way usually don’t need it. However I have found many who are not SEEKING not directly seeking charity but are needing a hand that do deserve it. I have worked with some of these people when they come to my attention and the results were good.

    But in a SHTF scenario there will be many more who really do need it and will be FORCED to seek it. How many will seek with humility or will they demand/rob/pillage? I think it will be quite a mix and I think that is an open question that will require discernment.

    The other factor is will private individuals be more of a threat or will the government be more of a threat. Will local or federal government swoop in and try to seize preps right along with private people? With the recent COVID reactions by dictatorial governors, I really wonder if they will not be the biggest threat. And general society’s attitude toward even those who had or acquired some extra toilet paper, quickly became hostile.

    1. I feel compassion for the people on the street. But I also know that most of them are mentally ill, alcoholics or drug users. I know that they can be and often are dangerous and I know that they are begging for money to feed their habit and not their stomach. In a sane world it would not be difficult to help these people. But we live in a political world where many things happen because they serve some political agenda. The ACLU may actually be singlehandedly responsible for our intractable homeless problems. Our governors and well intentioned charities make it worse.

      Most “innocent” unlucky people who end up “on the streets” quickly get the help they need to get on a path to normalcy. The help is there in abundance but it only works if your are not mentally ill, an alcoholic or drug user. If the kind of help our governments and charities were handing out this problem would been solved decades ago but instead it continues to get worse.

      In my opinion when things go belly up many of the people who are likely to be coming to your door for help or to do you harm will be these same people (i.e. the mentally ill or addicts). Do not let your charity put you and your family at risk.

    2. I think that many more people are living on the streets today(homeless) as they have mental health issues, probably the basis for their drug and alcohol abuse. I suspect this is due to the closing of the mental institutions that used to exist. Supposedly services were going to be offered at the “community level” I believe but mostly I think people just went untreated. Combine that with the sharp uptick in housing costs and the removal of a lot of SRO sorts of apartments that used to be found in larger cities and you get the homeless problems we now have. Homeless families not only have some of the same issues but I think are more prevalent now due to the large number of single parent families who often end up living in poverty.

  30. One thing I abhor is predatory begging. If you come to me in need and when asked to do something in exchange you then refuse, you have your answer. I’ve helped a lot of people and every one was willing to do something in return for my help. If you are unconscious and bleeding out I will of course help out as best I can without reservation, and I’ve done that before too. Sometimes people need help unequivocally. Usually, most everyone can bring something to the table. There is a big difference between won’t and can’t.

  31. Elli O.,

    Maybe I am simply not reading the same blogs every day as others do, but Survivalblog is the only one where I see an intertwining of preparedness and Christian values in the articles, as well as in the comments posted by readers. I am not saying that Survivalblog is unique in that respect, but it is something very close to it.

    Perhaps it was for this reason that I was more than a little surprised at your “big reveal,” as they might call it in a movie script where you came to the conclusion that you would not share with others. Do not misunderstand me. I am not criticizing you. You simply surprised me.

    It is natural for many people to not want to think much about the suffering of strangers, given the magnitude of the problem and the belief that whatever they can do will only be a drop in the bucket. There was a line in the movie “The Constant Gardener,” that impressed me. I remember little about the storyline except that in one part of this movie set in Africa, a disaster, perhaps a civil war (what a surprise!), was taking place and hundreds of refugees were fleeing. Rachel Weisz was driving past the long line of desperate refugees and she began to slow down in order to pick up one woman who was walking by herself. Her companion, Danny Huston, is dismayed and says something to the effect of, “Keep driving. You can’t save everyone!” She responds, “No, but I can save this one.”

    My willingness to engage in charitable efforts will depend on the circumstances. Is the disaster involved a massive EMP strike on the country, or a massive CME that has taken down the power grid, the effects of which could last a decade? Maybe the Yellowstone Caldera? If so, I could find myself left on my own to deal with the social turmoil, violence, and food shortages for an indeterminate period. In that case, each can of peas, vegetable soup, etc., that I would give to a stranger or even a mere acquaintance could mean one less can of peas that I have to serve to a loved one later, given that my food storage is finite.

    On the other hand, if the disaster involves a hurricane, tornado, or earthquake, sharing with others will be an easy decision to make because I will know that state and federal government will be mobilizing resources to rush into the area. Within a reasonably short period, even if that period involves a few weeks, things will start inching back to normal. I have heard of no one starving after Hurricane Katrina, for example.

    In a situation where things have turned feral, I will take care of “me and my own,” which is to say those within my circle. This would include relatives. Unfortunately, most of my relatives live too far away from me to benefit from charity from me. Beyond that, “my own” would include those with whom I have formed a bond, and upon whom I will be depending to have my back, but I will be selective.

    Engaging in charity with strangers will be very risky. If I give a stranger that can of peas today, he will be inclined to return tomorrow. He might also be inclined to tell others where he got the can of peas and, once my charity ends, he might be inclined to tell others where he got the can of peas in the hope of eliciting their support to get more from me. And they may not simply be begging.

    The idea of trying to share with others through an intermediary, such as a pastor, is one alternative, but this assumes that transporting the food and other supplies to the intermediary is still possible. If the grid is still functioning, in this day of Ring doorbells and CCTV, I will never know who is watching what I do. Putting that aside, people are likely to notice over time that after I leave the church parking lot, the church food bank shelves are usually better stocked.

    Unfortunately, the current pandemic is likely to send the wrong message to many. It is almost as if the current disaster is the equivalent of a school fire drill. The kids evacuate in an orderly fashion, and not through rolling clouds of black smoke, and the drill isn’t conducted during a thunderstorm or when the thermometer is registering temperatures in the single digits. This pandemic is a “comfortable disaster” (except for lost paychecks). Beef, toilet paper, and disinfectant may be missing from store shelves, but very few live in serious wont or deprivation, and there are alternatives available. Other than perhaps keeping more toilet paper on hand, most people will think that their approach will work just as well the next time a disaster strikes. “Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” They are trapped in their Normalcy Bias, and I will not be very inclined to open my larder to them as a result.

    And, yet, I might decide to “save this one.”

  32. Over the years of my prepping, I’ve felt torn between providing & protecting our family, versus giving/sharing w/ those truly in need. For 12 years, we lived in a sm town w/ a significant amount of poverty, the extent of which we’d not experienced before. We sometimes shared w/ others, usually more w/ those whom we personally knew. If we knew where their home was, what it was like, their family situation, their general lifestyle -all these factored into whether to give & how much to give.

    I appreciate Elli O’s well-thought out approach. I do find the choices of Scriptures to be curious -Jesus instructions in Matt 6 & the Matt 26 parable of the 10 virgins, 5 of whom said no to the foolish ones.
    There are, however, other Scriptures that can lead one to a different approach to giving/sharing, such as the parable of the Good Samaritan which illustrated the Master’s command to love one’s neighbor as yourself. Another is Boaz sharing w/ & marrying the foreign Ruth (another Gentile, as Luke was).
    Luke 12:33-34 (NIV) “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
    Prov 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.”
    Proverbs 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
    1 Kings 17:7-16
    Elijah & the Widow at Zarephath- who fed Elijah the last of her food, & the Lord miraculously kept replenishing her food store.
    These & other Scriptures suggest considering the needs of the poor & struggling, even when it means sacrificially giving from our limited supplies. Again, I appreciate what this article says about discretion & discernment.
    I also want to thank JWR for this blog & publishing this article, & for the numerous thoughtful comments on this.

  33. It may become more of a situation of “trading” rather than sharing.
    If we are in desperate times, there may be very little to share, but there may be room for trading.
    What is the difference?
    If you are sharing, you are giving away something you have to someone that needs it.
    If trading, you are exchanging an item they need for something you need.
    If they need milk and you have some, than ask what they have to exchange for it. If they have something you need, then you have a trade and both have received something they need. That can be anything from other food items or other products they may have, or even offering to help with work you may need to have done that you cannot do alone.
    Sharing may not be possible, but trading may be possible.

  34. Let me say first I am embarrassed to admit this. I retired from the military and from a state job and of course also get Social Security. It isn’t a ton of money but living kinda frugally it is more than I need. But my extended family and some acquaintances are irresponsible and from time to time they go to family and friends to beg some money. In good times they have enough for tattoos, smokes, booze, marijuana, and more but they save nothing for the bad times. Well you can’t let them think you have a few spare dollars or they will hound you for a “loan”. So with medical bills and cost of living we are always “broke”. Doesn’t matter if I have some extra money my story is “I’m broke and was thinking of asking you for a loan”. It’s just been my experience in life that there are a lot more needy grasshoppers than there are prepping ants and if you don’t fend them off they will bleed you dry. I’m not happy to lie about this but I am worldly enough to understand why I must.

    1. I manage requests for money by keeping a strict policy of only allowing one loan out per friend/family at a time. I explain this up front and warn there are no exceptions.

      Mentally, I assume the loan will never be paid back. I never hand out more than what I can give freely. I never have to remind others that they owe me unless they ask for more.

      Most take the first offering and disappear, or come back for seconds and are reminded they already have a “loan” out. This does a fair job of filtering out those that are looking for an easy handout.

      Only one has honored the terms and repaid every “loan” as they were able. I helped with their cashflow problems for years. They are finally making better decisions, and it has been a long time since they have asked for a loan.

      Along the way, there were a few hard times though when I had to turn them away. They already had a loan out, and were asking for money to put food on the table. They have three young children. Saying “no” was a hard thing.

      I created this policy after a family member faked an embarrassing disaster and milked me for a few months. The embarrassing part was claculated to extract a promise that I wouldn’t talk about it to others. I later found out this same person had worked through all of the immediate family and completely wiped out my grandparents savings. That was an awkward family reunion.

      Hard lesson. Hard choices.

  35. I’d like to do more on this, but gotta git into the garden…

    I’ve been a recipient of charity at a time when I was sick and destitute. The Lord sent this gift of mercy exactly when it was needed. The timing was amazing.
    I am thankful to this day, and having an opportunity, will give thanks to this person once again real soon as I am now able. I needed a hand up and not a handout. The experience humbles me today. Because we are no longer a Christain nation, and are increasingly lawless, I would do as JWR has prescribed (see GGHD’s comment and Rawlesian precepts), but within a small enclave, or community, I have a ‘neighbor’ who will need to be fed. I will be able feed them and provide garden seed, and to help them become self sufficient. Word that I have resources will not leave the ‘neighborhood’, and they will be able to contribute to the community in some meaningful way. Others in the ‘neighborhood” will assist them in some way as well, and we become a small community. If they prove lazy and unappreciative, then they become a burden, yet given who they appear to be, this is not likely. There is not an established mechanism to provide charity as JWR prescribes, but with time, and by help building a community, this at a distance opportunity might be created. I am encouraging and assist in this effort now. Others can do what I cannot do.

    Whatever charity we can afford to dispense will be limited and comes with certain and probably grave risks. Having seen the world and experienced life at most social economic levels, I feel the need to remind kind folks that unless the recipients have Jesus, and are no longer separated from Him by their sin, and they have demonstrated that with works, beware, that most people are inherently ruthless and dangerous animals who can be filled or influenced by a demonic spirit(s), however ‘nice’ and respectable they appear to be during this time of plenty. If they are not filled with the Holy Spirit, then they can be filled or easily influenced by a demonic spirit. During the End Times, that are fast approaching, demonic spirits will be increasingly prevalent at a time this country falling apart and we need to rely upon our preparations. I ask for the Gift of Wisdom, and the Gift of Discernment of Spirits when I must interact with others. We are in a spiritual war and the Holy Ghost leads me, and warns me as I must navigate in this battlefield. Without this help, we will not survive. With this guidance, wonderful things can happen…

  36. Charity under the guise of gift giving within your tribe, those who hold your same values and hold you as one of their own, is a wise principle. When practiced not as charity, but as what we do for out own, it both strengthens those who you lean on for support, making you and yours safer, and strengthening the bonds necessary for survival in harsh times. See to your brothers and sisters needs thru wise gift giving, making no fuss and leaving the quiet, “well, I thought of you. And last year you helped me out with X” or ” Well Bob helped me out with Y, so i thought of you with Z, and I dont have what Bob needs, but I thought you may know where A is”

    Keeps the negative connotations of charity out of the picture, cause i know you are going to help me with X at some point or vice versa. Spread thru a tribe, we see to each others needs while increasing our self reliance and independence all while building bonds that last.

    Good luck out there and God bless you all.

  37. Many folks are quoting scripture about helping. One important verse that rules my giving is, “If a man will not work, neither let him eat.” So much wisdom there! The Bible references to help are restricted to helping people who can’t totally take care of themselves such as widows and orphans and people badly handicapped. We are under no obligation to help people who can do for themselves. In fact, we should not. Isn’t that called enabling?

  38. I must agree that it is a difficult decision not to share with those in need. However, if things are not “normal” then the time has past or the door has closed for charity. Then one must focus on thier own family’s long term well being instead of other’s misfortune or mismanagement.

  39. I believe in Christ and the Bible. In a real disaster, I will put “mine” first. The biggest problem with giving in times of real problems is that you are taking away from those you love because you do not know how long the problem will last.

    The National Institute of Health stated that over 250,000 people die from medical errors. My feeling is that the number is much more. . . .as a society we do nothing about that.

    We are in this society which “picks winners and losers’. The medical community is getting a pass, other “groups” do not get the same consideration.

    We will not give to others unless we know them and are very well aware of their circumstances.

    Desperate people who do not have the Lord in their hearts will do a lot to get something for their children, I will too.

    Best to follow the “grey man” approach to charity.

  40. The widows and orphans and handicapped and children “the least of these” will be many. the blessing of helping the poor will also be many. we are to plant our seed on fertile ground not where the enemy will destroy it. you should use the church the true body of Christ to distribute this . where did the widow give to or the fishes and loaves they went to the followers of Christ to distribute. give secretly (opsec)so that you will not get the glory ,, but, so that the “WORD” will get the glory and he will glorify the Father . also that they will not just be fed will mortal food but also with eternal food at the same time. we are all servant and stewards of God . be a faithful steward . he owns all the world and does not need our stuff , but does want our obedience . do you give tithes and offerings now ? why would you stop later? if you do not give tithes and offerings now ,,, pray for salvation and wisdom . use the church to protect you and your supply from bad people and good folks with bad ideas. Jesus has all authority and will bless you . be a part of the body to help distribute help and watch his work . we are the body. should we not give a meal or a warm blanket when we can ? or teach someone a skill to lift a burden from them . be safe and protect your supply from the evil ones but remember who blessed you with it . Jesus was a sacrifice for us all thru him we win ,,, how can we not sacrifice some of what he gave us and say we “follow him”? do not waste the blessing on those who are not his which are many ,, again use the church the true church to show his glory . what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul! be Christian warriors protecting and providing for his sheep . God bless us all thru your Son .

  41. Missing:

    1. Did they ASK for the aid in question, or was the need obvious.

    2. Did they contribute in other ways – say paving roads, building things BEFORE it hit?

    While I don’t think it is reasonable to create a slave or embarass someone who is in need, it is prudent to establish the fact. Second, if we reward vice or lack of virtue it is our evil so we ought to make sure.

  42. This article was well done. It brings up issues we need to examine. One bring operational security. All religion aside, the safety and security of the family is first and foremost. There is no compromise on that. The problem that arises from this post is unless you can donate food etc anonymously, you compromise YOUR families security and safety. You start feeding others and word spreads. We know from the economic collapse of Argentina, that semi professional gangs rise out of the ashes to conduct raids on homes. They conducted intel operations to fund who was giving out food, who had military style guns, who had clean clothes, who had lights on in the night w sounds of a generator running. Christian charity is nice until a gang of raiders descend on your house with rape and pillage on their minds. Are you willing to sacrifice your wife and kids literally, for a bit if feel good generosity? It could be fatal

  43. Janie is exactly right when she posts, “If a man will not work, neither let him eat”. Last year I was propositioned by a 15 year old at a grocery store, asking for $10 to send him and his soccer team to state finals in Houston. I told him I didn’t have $10 to spare, but that I had several trees that needed trimming and hay that needed bailing, and if he and 3 of his team members would come to my place tomorrow I would pay them $80 each for a day’s work.

    He told me he had raised $80 in the last hour at the grocery store; “Thanks man, but no thanks.”

    Seems to me the difference is, “Who exactly is the one who is ‘in need’?”

  44. I regularly come upon indigent nomads that I would describe as “in dire times” relative to my circumstamce. Most just want my attention, above all else, to listen to their stories. I am often times the only human contact they have had in a while (same for me), and they usually just want to shake my hand or give me a hug before inviting me to sit down at their fire to share a meal and swap stories.

    They share their bounty and stories with me, I share mine with them, and I’ve not yet moved on wanting or disappointed.

  45. I’m with Bret. I’ve thought about this some too for the SHTF situation. My faith, inclination and who I am says I should be sharing. I’ve put away enough preps to share. I have the financial resources to put away more of the basics like beans, rice, and wheat but I’m out of space. I’m not sure how to share safely. I start with me and the wife. My son is close, lives in an apartment without much space and doesn’t prep. Just doesn’t think far ahead that what is easy to obtain and available today may not be the same in a year. I have food for him. He has a fiance who lives with him, so by feeding him I’m telling her I have food. She’s almost family so no problem, I’ll put away some more food so now I’m prepping for four. Now she tells her family, she has parents, parents have brothers and sisters who also have kids, and before you know it I could be feeding 40 people. I don’t have that much food, nor do I even have the space to store that much food. It becomes an OPSEC issue and I haven’t even left the immediate family. I have an long retired couple across the street. Friends, not preppers, but they have many skills, he’s ex hunter, grew up on farm, built own brick house, armorer, ex military and highway patrol, she knows gardening, canning, etc. I would like to help feed them, but they have son… We have a church up the street, doing good work in the community, I could try to share through them. Let’s say I provided some food. Short of elaborate measures like loading in the garage and meeting the pastor on a deserted road in the middle of the night to transfer the food I’m not sure how to share it without giving away the existence of my preps or who I am. My plan is too look poor, look dirty, keep a dark house, I have heavy black plastic for a few windows, OSB for windows, keep light at night to places it won’t be seen, basically to blend in with the masses.

  46. I intend to give, in accordance with Scripture. Matthew 6:1-8 has much to tell us about giving… an excerpt is included here:

    “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (KJV)

    My father was a self-made man. When a serious need would arise in our small town (a widow needing help, a family with heavy medical bills due to a sick child, etc), an envelope of money would appear on their front porch and everyone would try to guess how it got there. I always knew how it got there because my father had left extra early for work that day, with an envelope in his hand…. I was not to say a word, and I didn’t. He instilled in me the importance of giving anonymously. Interestingly, I ended up married to a man who has the same approach to charity.

    If we make appropriate security plans ahead of time, and maintain our anonymity, there will be fewer logistical or safety concerns related to charity. Perhaps not all of us are called to this task, but certainly some of us are.

  47. Most people have something to trade, this is a whole different perspective than just giving something away. It establishes your substance has value, it maintains the receivers self respect and you may get something you need. Or they could perform some chores play some music, what ever but to just be doling out things leads many to a sense of entitlement. When you see their reaction to a request for a trade you will see the truth of the depth of their need.

  48. Noah did shut the door. Jacob actually charged people for food during the famine. God intends us to work. The fish and loaves were multiplied. Teach a man to fish and he will eat much longer than giving him a fish.

    Deep discussion and good comments from others.

  49. I’m favorably impressed with how many are struggling with this topic and are very earnest in considering proper responses.

    As a marksman, I can put 10 out 10 rounds into a 6″ ring at 600 yards with a 5.56 CMP rifle. Can do the same with a BM59 .308 at 800 yards.

    I can’t imagine how this skill could be used in homestead defense. Unless there is a total breakdown in govt. with no LEO working & no justice system functioning, the existing self defense laws will need to be respected.

    Invaders would have to be breaking in, be already inside, and putting one in fear of life. Just being in the dwelling might not be adequate to justify use of deadly force against the person.

    If a gunfight from invaders outside the dwelling towards the dwelling were to breakout, being inside provides a force multiplier. It would likely require 6 to 10 invaders to overcome 2 determined defenders if they are both good with a gun. What are the circumstances that could result in such an event developing?

    Whatever the circumstances, I hope that good people will form confederations for mutual defense, to include roving patrols, quick reaction forces, and deputized agents if there are any legitimate LEOs with authority derived from the previous govt. There probably will be.

    Firearm use will generate a lot of trouble for the user unless the perceived “threat” does something really stupid and acts like a clear danger to life. What will the relatives and friends of the killed person do? It could turn into a deadly feud. So, there could be more trouble even if not legal trouble.

    I would never shoot at a metallic target near where a stranger is standing. A miss could kill someone & start a feud. A hit could make the stranger mad and start a feud. One must only consider use of deadly force as a last resort.

    Even then, it might not save you. You may be over run. A much better plan is to use your good mind to discern that your present situation is too dangerous & then change it.

    A homestead is not a firebase and a bunker is not a fortress.

    We all have a vested interest in the existing governments continuing to function. Our best path is to try to return them to lawful and constitutionally correct activities.

    I pray that my family, my friends, and all on SurvivalBlog stay safe, stay healthy, and always stay alert!

    Let’s Roll!
    Wolf

    1. Hi, Wolf, I love what you posted. You obviously have a lot of experience, and have given me a lot to think about. It was my thought that the whole reason to ping the metal was to prevent the use of deadly force. I can’t be responsible if the person gets mad about it. Get the heck off my property after disregarding the no trespassing signs.

      These are my knee jerk reactions.

      However, I have to say, I will ponder your viewpoint for years, and ask the Lord for wisdom. After reading your comments, I just realized that I am very naive about feuds. You, on the other hand, seem to take them very seriously. I will take you at your word that you know what you are talking about and do what may be possible to deescalate the situation. Once. That said, I do not like bullies, and I am not afraid to die. Afraid of torture and worse? You bet. Afraid of anyone hurting my loved ones? My worst fear… I will die trying to protect them and consider it a blessing if that is how I go.

      Bullies, are bullies, are bullies. I’m sure I will have too much to do in life to want to spend anymore time than necessary dealing with them. If I accidentally pinged/killed a good person, I would have no problem confessing and suffering the consequences. Accidentally killed an evil person trying to harm my family? What person?…
      ++++++++++

      For Sblog readers: okay, now that I have scared the liver out of you by sharing my inner thoughts, I did tell you just a few weeks ago I was a great sinner, but also that I had a greater Savior. Yes, no need to tell me you’ll be praying for me. I’ll feel it.
      Blessings, Krissy

      So, this is me, quarterbacking for some future game of life. lol.

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