The stated purpose is to get Americans prepared for the possibility of emergencies within their “homes, businesses, schools, and communities”. The “READY” Campaign correlates public education outreach through the dissemination of information designed to help the general public “prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks”.
That being said, preparation is not a bad idea. In fact, it is quite commendable. The Bible itself is full of admonishment with regard to preparation for the future. This comes to us in several ways, one of which is by presenting us with Godly examples.
In the Old Testament Book of Genesis, Joseph rose to prominence in ancient Egypt by interpreting the dreams of Pharaoh and then advising the Egyptian king to take advantage of seven “fat” years (full of bumper crops) in order to be prepared for seven impending “lean” years of famine that were to follow.
With such examples also comes admonition. In the Old Testament Book of Proverbs (chapter 24, verses 30-34), Solomon makes the following observations:
30I passed by the field of the sluggard
And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense,
31And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles;
Its surface was covered with nettles,
And its stone wall was broken down.
32When I saw, I reflected upon it;
I looked, and received instruction.
33“A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest,”
34Then your poverty will come as a robber
And your want like an armed man.
Again, in chapter 6, verses 6-11, he states:
6Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! 7It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,8yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? 10A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest - 11and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.
The idea here is that it behooves each of us to spend a little time today getting prepared for tomorrow. If we don’t, we may live to regret it.
In the New Testament, Jesus also encourages us to think about and prepare in advance for what tomorrow may hold (and, by extension, be reminded of the consequences of not doing so). For instance, in the Gospel of Luke (chapter 14, verses 28-35), He says:
28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
31“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
34“Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
While the illustration relates less to storing up and more to estimating cost and resources, the principle is still the same: thorough preparation in advance today makes for an easier go tomorrow, no matter what might come our way.
And if this is true for the things of this world, how much more is it true for eternity?! Indeed, the Bible has much more to say about the importance of preparing for the next world than the next day, week, month, or year.
Consider the story told by Jesus Himself in the New Testament Gospel of Luke (chapter 12, verse 16-21):
16…“The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21“This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”
He follows this up with a fairly lengthy admonition on the importance of not getting caught up in the things of this world:
22…“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your lifeb? 26Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
27“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell 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. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Is Jesus telling us not to prepare for tomorrow? No. He is simply reminding us that it does no good to prepare for the tomorrows of this world without first preparing for the tomorrow of the next world. And thus, fittingly, He then concludes all of this with a reminder about the coming end of this age:
35“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak.
39But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
All of this leads us to ask one simple question: “Are you ready for tomorrow?” If not, now would be a good time to start. But make certain to include preparation for the next world as well as the next day. For when it eventually unfolds, you will be very glad you did.
SOURCES: Read more at: https://www.ready.gov/. See also:
SCRIPTURE SOURCES: http://biblehub.com/.