The Old Testament Book of Proverbs is full of ancient thinkers and prophets who collected choice phrases and stories in order to pass down their wisdom through the generations. The book of Proverbs is a guide to living well or wisely in God’s universe. It is filled with short sayings and longer poems which teach moral values. Proverbs divides actions into God’s idea of good and bad. The teachings form a moral compass to live by.
Of course, Proverbs has something to say about spiritual preparedness, as well as temporal preparedness. In a day and time where food didn’t come in cans from grocery stores, these wise people understood the importance of storage and preparedness.
“The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but the fools gulp theirs down”
Proverbs 21:20 is mixed in with literally hundreds of other ancient words of wisdom. This passage clearly defines the wise as those who save and store food. Whereas the foolish quickly use up their supplies. What can we learn from this ancient phrase? Proverbs 21:20 can be divided into two ideas; food storage and financial independence.
Food Storage Food storage is an obvious takeaway, the passage clearly states “the wise store up choice food.” Emergency food storage is an important and necessary part of any emergency plan. In ancient times extra food from the harvest season was stored to keep people fed throughout the cold winter months. Those with a meager harvest or those who failed to store food often died from starvation.
For most of the developed world, starvation might not seem like much of a problem. However, some predict that the world may face massive food storage as little as 10 years. According to Sara Menker, chief executive of Gro Intelligence, world food supplies are currently measured by weight and not nutritional value. Estimates put the world’s population at over 9 billion people by 2050. Demands for higher calorie foods such as red meat could be problematic. Ensure your family is prepared. Be wise, store emergency food and water.
Financial Independence Living within your means is an important life skill. Proverbs 21:20 tells us that the foolish people “gulp down” their supplies. In the ancient world, crops and livestock were your wealth. Say you have a good harvest and feast on all the spoils, then you will have nothing eat later. Saving money works on the same principle.
Financial experts recommend having an emergency fund, obviously. This should be money set aside for unexpected medical bills, car repairs, job loss, etc. This shouldn’t be saved for a home or a vacation. Experts suggest you set aside 6-12 months of earned income. This will allow you to manage unexpected expenses while still paying your everyday bills. Don’t be foolish and spend every penny you earn, when disaster strikes you won’t be able to fund your needs. Instead be wise and set aside a rainy day fund.
Principles from Proverbs 21:20
- Spend less than you earn
- Store food and water
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