I missed last Monday’s Mindful Monday post as my husband had been in the hospital and today it’s late (and more like Tuesday), but better late than never!
I’m going to share what I have posted on the “Biblical Couponing” page of this blog as I think it offers much food for thought:
There are so many things in the Bible that talk about using wisdom, providing for your family and community, learning from the ant to harvest food during the harvest, giving to the poor etc. How do you harvest food at the proper season if you don’t live on a farm or in a rural area? In our modern lives, what does that look like? One way would be to purchase products at the proper time…when they are on sale and when you have a coupon!
Here are some Biblical Illustrations and Teachings :
“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. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.”
– Proverbs 6:6-11
The ant gathers its food in the harvest. In our modern day with very few of us growing our own food, how would this translate? A “harvest” for many of us would mean to find the best deal at the best time and “harvest” (stock up on) it!
So, the Word tells us to “Look to the Ant” (or “Go to the Ant” depending on your translation), so lets do that!
Most species of ants eat a large amount of food in autumn to put on fat, thereby allowing them to go without food through the winter. The entrance to the ant nest is closed as a natural result of the slowdown and cessation of ant traffic. Furthermore, soil or sand has accumulated around the entrance. When spring comes and it gets warmer, the ants become active and open up the entrance of their nest to venture outside. (Read more HERE)
Now it’s probably not wise for a human to put on fat in the summer to make it through the winter But the overall premise is that the ant stockpiles it’s food on it’s body. A human’s counterpart to that would be stockpiling their food on shelves instead of their bodies, wouldn’t you say?
THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN
King James Version (KJV) (see below for NIV Version)
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
”She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” -Proverbs 31:25
If you are wise and store up necessities when you can buy them at the best price using coupons and sales, you can laugh at the days to come.
THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats:
“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. 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, 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.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “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.’ ” – Matthew 25:34-40
The Parable of the Unjust Steward
“He also said to His disciples: “There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and an accusation was brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. So he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ “Then the steward said within himself, ‘What shall I do? For my master is taking the stewardship away from me. I cannot dig; I am ashamed to beg. I have resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.’ “So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ So he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ So the master commended the unjust steward because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light. “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home. He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own? “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. …” – Luke 10:30-37
Parable of the Talents (Bags of Gold)
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
If I build up supplies as I’m able to through couponing, when someone is in need I will be able to help them. If I’m not wise in my shopping and preparations, there’s no way I would be able to help them. Were just barely getting by as it is. I really truly want to just keep a stockpile just big enough for my family to get us by from one sales cycle to another to spend as little money as possible and have a BIT of a little built up and honestly use any overflow to give to food pantries and homeless shelters. I want to be a faithful servant so that the Lord can tell me on that day, “I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was naked and you clothed me.” What better way for a family who is just barely getting by without coupons to fulfill that than to stock up and have it to share with those in need?
OTHER BIBLICAL DIRECTIVES AND EXAMPLES
The Lord directed Joseph to stockpile for the 7 years of famine when he was second to Pharoah in Egypt. Joseph was the embodiment of trust in the Lord, so for him to stockpile was not a way of him putting his trust in his stockpiling, but in the Lord who gives him the ability and materials to put aside in the first place!
Another example is Noah. God gave him directions to make preparations for the flood. Something many people don’t realize is that it never rained on the earth until the flood, so Noah was really stepping out on faith in the Lord to be obedient and stockpile all the Lord told him to on the ark for the days of flood ahead. (Genesis chapter 6)
OTHER BIBLICAL RESOURCES
END TIMES PREPAREDNESS
The End Times / Latter Days / Bible Prophecy / Eschatology…however you want to refer to it, most Christians believe that there will come a time in the not too distant future when Jesus will return. (This is a topic very near and dear to my heart.) Many believe that He will return after a time of “Tribulation“, (also known as “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble“). Some believe He will return before this period, some believe He will return in the middle of this period, and some believe He will return at the end of this period. For sake of brevity (and because this blog is a couponing and savings blog and not a Bible Prophecy blog), I will use the first example, that He returns before the time of the Tribulation Period.
This type of Christian is referred to as a Pre-Tribber (before the Tribulation).
Now Pre-Tribbers believe that true Christians will be caught away (i.e. “raptured”) away from the earth and taken to be with Christ during this period of Tribulation that happens to the world that is left behind. Many Pre-Tribbers believe that many people who have been left behind will become believers in Jesus during this time. For those who do, according to the Bible, it will be a very dangerous time for them indeed. If they refuse to take the Mark of the Beast, they will not be able to buy or sell, so they will be forced underground. To a Pre-Tribber, the Tribulation Period lasts for a period of 3 1/2 years plus 3 1/2 years (the latter period being far worse than the first).
Ok, now what does this have to do with couponing or stockpiling? Simply this. These new Christians will have to be able to eat while they are in hiding since they can’t buy or sell! So when we, as Christians before the Tribulation Period, stock up on goods, we may very well be supporting those Tribulation Christians!
In all my studying about the End of the Age, Rapture, Tribulation Period, etc., I’m reminded that the Lord tells us to “abide” till He returns. We should work as if He is never coming, but live as if He will be back at our next breath. I believe the Lord will be returning for true believers very soon and that any stockpile I may have developed can be used by Tribulation Christians (those who become Christians after the Rapture). So developing a stockpile is beneficial in the wisdom of a Christian family today and till the Rapture, and will be much needed by Tribulation Christians who will be hiding out afterwards.
So, in being wise in our couponing in order to first: provide for our families, second: help the needy around us and third: keeping food on hand for Tribulation Christians (Jesus warned ahead of time), we are fulfilling the Biblical directives to provide for our families, help the poor and that will include those poor to come in the End Times.