Friday, July 27, 2012

Of Zombies and Lilies, Bunkers and Birds

(Note:  This post was previously published in the Spencer Daily Reporter.)

There seems to be a lot of fear going around these days.  One of the primary examples of this fear can now be seen in a reality television series.  As I was flipping through channels one day I stumbled across the show Doomsday Preppers.  It’s a show about people who are preparing for some sort of cataclysmic world turmoil.  Some say they’re prepping for nuclear war.  Some say they’re prepping for Armageddon.  And some even say they’re prepping for a zombie apocalypse. 

These folks have built secret lairs, most of them deep under the ground.  They’re reminiscent of cold war era fallout shelters.  They stock their bunkers with food rations, supplies, and ammunition.  I watched in disbelief as one man showed how his doomsday bunker had a geothermal energy system so he could have electricity, which he needed to power security cameras that monitor his surroundings, as well as flame throwers, automatic weapons, and booby traps that would ensnare trespassers.

Is this what our society has come to?  Really?

Now I know there is a lot going on in our world today that can cause us anxiety.  There are a lot of things that can cause us to fear for the future.  While it is appropriate for us to plan for the future, spending our life savings building a zombie proof bunker may not be the best use of our lives.  And before we let the paranoia bother us to the core of our being, let me share with you some important words that Jesus said:

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?  And why do you worry about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things: and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own.  Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6: 25-34, NRSV). 

According to Jesus, our focus in life is to be on living each day according to God’s desires.  If we’re doing that, he says, we should be able to leave the rest to God.  This doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to save money for our children’s college tuition or that we shouldn’t have a generator around in case the power goes out.  Planning for the future is necessary and prudent.  But at the same time, when we obsess over our fears or worries to the point of paranoia, it suggests we’ve lost faith in God’s ability to provide and care for us.  Whatever the future holds for you, I pray God’s blessings upon you, and that your eyes will always be opening to the ways God is providing and caring for you each and every day.

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