In America (and Australia) today, a number of people have taken steps to prepare for what they fear is going to happen to America. These "preppers" believe that a complete collapse of the economy is coming, and they are doing everything they can to get ready. The Great (American) Drought of 2012 has only added to the urgency of being ready for future food shortages.
A prepper is: "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant), or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle."
This category of people has become so popular it has spawned Doomsday Preppers, a documentary TV show that airs on National Geographic. The preppers featured on the show are seen planning how they expect to survive various doomsday scenarios. After they make their preparations, a panel of experts analyzes and rates their survival skills.
It is hard to tell how many people are part of the preparation movement. Many of these people like to keep their planning a secret so they don't have to fend off their starving neighbors once a famine sets in. One estimate says that around 4 million people would classify themselves as preppers.
The field of Bible prophecy has been profoundly influenced by the prepper movement. I would estimated that 60 percent of the people I know have made some type of preparation for hard times. I know of at least three prophetic ministries that have decided to specialize in promoting end-time survivalism.
I have seen several videos on YouTube of people showing off their silver/gold coins or pantry stocked with canned goods. I am struck by the fact that most of these people lack any meaningful quantity of precious metals or foods.
Clearly, they have not done the math to see how long they can survive a time of economic hardship. If our nation were to suffer an economic meltdown and these people were without work for several months, their supplies would quickly run out, leaving them with only a temporary advantage over people who made no preparations.
In a search of YouTube, I found five videos of people showing off their silver. I didn't see a video showing someone with more than 200 ounces. At today's market price, 200 ounces of silver is only worth around $5,600, which would only last many people about two months. I'm sure these people are dreaming of silver prices that will have soared into the hundred-dollar range. Because inflation will cause the price of goods and services to also increase, silver will only preserve your purchasing power at the current rate.
There is an equal misconception about how long food stocks will last. Over the years, I've met dozens of people who tell me they have purchased extra canned goods for hard times. A case of Uncle Ben's rice is not going to save people from a prolonged famine. Just to meet the daily grain requirements for a family of three people for one year, you would have to store around 300 pounds of rice. This is equal to twelve five-gallon buckets.
Of course, you can't just live on rice. If you wanted to purchase a year's supply of freeze-dried meat, it would cost you around $1,700. An annual supply of canned or freeze-dried vegetables would be another $800. The best option would be to have a garden, but most people don't have enough land to grow their own food.
I have no problem with folks who have decided to make preparations for adversity. If God has blessed you with financial resources, it would be wise to convert some of your wealth into goods that would endure a period of hyperinflation.
I think it's unwise for people to place all their faith in their preparations. I'm sure the people I found posing with their precious metal collections and their pantries stocked with food have total confidence that their little hoard will save them from hard times. Calamity can come by other means. The person with the silver and gold coins may have them stolen by robbers or confiscated by the government. The people who have their house filled with food can easily have it wiped out by a flood or a wildfire.
To be a real "prepper", you have to be a believer in Jesus Christ. All the gold, guns, and groceries in the world can't save you from the coming judgment. The only cure for the curse of sin is faith in Son of God. How can you not be an end-time prepper when you have a Lord who has promised to save you from the wrath to come?
“For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).