Food storage is an important topic that the Bible addresses multiple times. As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of the provisions God gives us. Storing food and supplies for times of scarcity or hardship is one way we can exercise wisdom and foresight. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore the key principles and verses in Scripture related to food storage and preparedness.
Storing food is a practical act that allows us to provide for ourselves and others during seasons of shortage. Wise storage of food and supplies is commended in Scripture. At the same time, the Bible warns against hoarding or stockpiling out of greed, fear, or lack of faith. As with many things, the right balance is key.
When exploring what the Bible says about food storage, several key principles arise:
- God is our ultimate provider. We store food not out of fear or self-reliance, but out of prudence and stewardship of God’s provision.
- Planning ahead is wise. Scripture praises those who foresee potential needs and make preparations to meet them. At the same time, our trust must remain in God.
- Generosity is encouraged. Storing food in order to generously share with others – especially the poor and hungry – is depicted as righteous in the Bible. Hoarding resources out of selfishness or fear is condemned.
- Moderation is important. While storing food is wise, stockpiling obsessively can reflect distorted priorities and lack of balance. Our lives should not revolve around physical provisions.
- Wastefulness should be avoided. Letting food spoil due to lack of planning or distribution shows poor stewardship of resources. Managing stored food well honors God.
- Short-term vs long-term focus. Scripture encourages preparing both for immediate needs and longer-term events that may require more extensive supplies. Balancing these is important.
In this comprehensive overview, we will explore Bible verses that speak to each of these key principles. We will also look at real-life examples of food storage in Scripture and lessons we can learn from them. Whether we are preparing for a short-term crisis or long-term event, God’s wisdom on storing food can guide us.
God is Our Ultimate Provider
The most important foundation when exploring what the Bible says about food storage is recognizing that God is our ultimate provider. All of our resources come from Him, and it is only by His grace and blessing that we have anything to store up in the first place. We are completely dependent upon God for provision – and this is true whether or not we have food stored up for the future. Trusting in God rather than our own stores is vital.
For example, after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they were in need of food and water in the wilderness. God provided miraculously for them by sending manna and quail that sustained them for 40 years (Exodus 16). The Israelites were instructed not to store any manna except for the day before the Sabbath, forcing them to depend on God’s provision daily. Exodus 16:35 notes that the Israelites ate manna for 40 years, until they came to the border of Canaan. God supernaturally provided enough food for millions of people daily, out of His infinite spiritual resources.
Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Our human understanding and foresight is limited. God asks us to trust in His ability and willingness to provide – even when we cannot envision how He will do so.
At the same time, the Bible does not condemn storing resources prudently as a means of stewarding God’s provision. In Genesis 41, Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain during years of surplus in Egypt, providing for the nation during a seven year famine. As Matthew Henry notes, Joseph did not merely tell the people God would provide – he exercised wisdom and planning under God’s direction to prepare for coming hardship.
The key attitude is recognizing God ultimately provides both the food we eat daily and any stores we may keep for the future. Our trust remains fully in Him, whether with overflowing stores or empty cupboards. We act wisely as stewards, while knowing our faith rests in God alone.
Planning Ahead is Wise But Our Trust Must Remain in God
While God provides miraculously, Scripture also emphasizes wisdom in planning ahead and prudent storing of resources for times of need. Those who foresee potential lacks coming and make practical preparations are generally praised. However, biblical wisdom also reminds us that despite our best efforts at planning, our trust must remain fixed on God who alone controls the future.
Proverbs 6:6-8 uses the ant as an example here: “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest.” The ant doesn’t know exactly what will happen in the future, but it wisely foresees winter coming and stores up food while abundance is available. This common sense advance planning is held up as an example. At the same time, the ant does not rely solely on its own Stores, but providentially on the abundance and timing God provides.
In Genesis 41, Joseph provides another example of wisdom in preparedness combined with reliance on God. By interpreting Pharaoh’s dream, Joseph knew that seven years of famine were coming after a time of plenty. Under the inspiration of God, Joseph planned ahead by storing huge amounts of grain during the seven good years to provide for the seven lean years to come. At the same time, Joseph made clear that it was God who gave wisdom and brought provision – he was merely acting as a steward of what God provided.
Jesus encourages similar prudent planning and vigilance in various parables, such as the parable of the ten virgins who are prepared and waiting for the bridegroom in Matthew 25:1-13. The five virgins who prepare extra oil for their lamps are ready for the bridegroom’s arrival, while the five foolish ones without extra oil miss out. Jesus praises wise readiness here. At the same time, He makes clear the bridegroom’s arrival is in God’s timing – the virgins can only humbly wait and prepare as best they can.
Proverbs 27:12 also reminds us that foreseeable prudence is wise: “A prudent person foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.” Preparing for potential lean times is a good thing. However, our trust must remain in God as we store food or make other preparations. God alone controls everything the future may bring.
Generosity Out of Stores is Encouraged While Hoarding is Condemned
A very important biblical theme related to food storage is that any stores we keep should be used generously to aid others – especially the poor and hungry. The Bible strongly condemns self-centered hoarding or stockpiling of food out of fear, greed or selfishness. As God graciously provides for us, we must graciously share with others.
For instance, in Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who stored up great wealth and goods only to lose his life that very night. This man’s fatal flaw was storing up treasures for himself while being unrich toward God and others (Luke 12:21). His hoarding came from greed and self-reliance rather than faith in God.
Similarly, in Luke 3:11, John the Baptist tells the crowds, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” John emphasizes generosity and sharing from any surplus or stored resources we may have. Hoarding while others go without is unacceptable.
The early church provides a positive model here. Acts 2:44-45 notes how the first believers shared everything in common, selling possessions and distributing food generously to any who had need. Similarly, Acts 4:32 says: “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”
The Bible consistently paints generous sharing of stored food with joy when needs arise as righteous, while greedily hoarding in fear or self-interest is condemned. If God graciously provides a surplus, we must use it to generously bless others – storing up spiritual rewards in heaven as we meet needs on earth.
Moderation and Balance Are Important
In emphasizing wisdom and stewardship, the Bible also cautions against taking any good thing to an extreme. Even something as prudent as storing food can become distorted into unhealthy excess motivated by fear or lack of trust in God. Moderation and balance in how we store food are vital. Our faith and identity must remain rooted in God, not physical supplies.
For instance, Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:25-34 not to worry excessively about what we will eat or what the future holds. God knows our needs and will provide each day. Being consumed with stockpiling enormous amounts of food shows lack of faith. As Matthew 6:33 encourages, we should “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” trusting that provision will follow.
Ecclesiastes 7:18 also warns against overreacting or going to extremes: “It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” In this area of food storage, the two good things in tension are wisdom in preparing on the one hand, while maintaining trust in God on the other. We should hold both principles simultaneously, avoiding the ditch on either side.
Proverbs 30:7-9 provides a good prayer regarding finding the right balance: “Two things I request of You; Deprive me not before I die: Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches – Feed me with the food You prescribe for me; Lest I be full and deny You… Lest I be poor and steal…” Here the Bible reminds us our focus should remain on what God prescribes each day, whether abundance or scarcity. Our security is in Him.
Avoiding Waste is Wise While Managing Stores Well Honors God
Another important biblical principle related to food storage is the importance of avoiding waste and managing stores well as wise stewards. Letting food rot or spoil due to poor planning or distribution shows very poor stewardship of God’s provision. Learning to manage stored food efficiently honors God.
For example, John 6 notes that after Jesus miraculously fed the 5000, the disciples gather up 12 baskets full of leftover fragments from the food so that nothing will be wasted. Jesus models good stewardship even in the midst of this amazing miracle. Managing resources carefully has priority.
Proverbs 28:27 notes wisdom in judiciously dispersing stored food: “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” Hiding stored food or letting it rot while people are in need brings consequences. Generously but wisely distributing stores pleases God.
In John 12, Mary wisely keeps expensive ointment stored up so she can anoint Jesus with it at the appropriate time. She did not wastefully use it up all at once, but managed it as a valuable resource to bless the Savior. Her stewardship is praised.
At the same time, over-managing stored food to the point of paralysis or unhealthy worry is also warned against. In Jesus’ parable of the talents, the servant who was so afraid of losing what he was given that he hid it and did not risk investing it was sternly rebuked (Matthew 25:24-30). Faithfully managing what God entrusts to us means putting it to work for His purposes.
Short-term and Long-term Planning Both Have a Place
As we explore principles around food storage in the Bible, one final balance that arises is planning both for short-term, foreseeable needs and events, while also making wise preparations for longer-term or more widespread events should they arise. Both short-term and long-term considerations for our families and communities merit attention.
For instance, Proverbs 6:6-8 notes how the ant stores up food all summer long for the winter. Similarly, in Genesis 41, Joseph stored grain for seven full years to meet needs during the coming famine. This reflects prudent long-term planning guided by God’s wisdom. At the same time, Scriptures like Acts 11:27-30 show believers responding to foresee urgent, short-term needs in their community, setting aside relief to send quickly. Planning on both time horizons is modeled.
Ecclesiastes 11:2 puts it this way: “Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.” Here the Bible reminds us to diversify – not putting all our efforts into one bucket, but spreading out preparations for the unknowable future God holds. Some short-term provisions, some longer-term.
Overall, the Bible commends seeking God for wisdom in storing appropriate amounts of food both for the everyday seasons of life we can foresee coming, and also for being prepared should larger events or hardships arise. As with all areas, we prayerfully seek balance under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Biblical Examples of Food Storage
Beyond general principles, Scripture provides some powerful real-life examples of food storage that provide lessons for us today. Three particularly notable examples are Joseph storing grain in Egypt, the prophet Elisha ensuring oil and flour for a widow, and the miraculous feeding of the 5000.
Joseph in Egypt – As discussed previously, in Genesis 41 Pharaoh has a dream that seven years of famine will follow seven years of plenty. Under God’s inspiration, Joseph implements a plan to store huge amounts of grain during the seven good years to provide for the seven lean years to come. This massive food storage program saves Egypt and surrounding nations from starvation. Joseph stewards God’s provision prudently on a large scale, without hoarding or anxiety.
Elisha and the widow – 2 Kings 4:1-7 shares the account of a poor widow whose husband died with debts. The widow has no food and is afraid her two children will be taken as servants to pay the debts. The prophet Elisha asks what she has in the house – she has only one flask of oil. Elisha instructs her to borrow empty vessels and pour the oil miraculously to fill them all. She obeys in faith, collecting as many jars as possible. God provides abundant oil that she can sell to pay debts and live on. Elisha shows God’s concern for food security.
Feeding the 5000 – In John 6:5-13, Jesus miraculously multiplies five loaves and two fish to feed 5000+ people, with 12 baskets leftover. He provides abundantly, even from limited resources. The disciples play a role by bringing what food is available and distributing it, under Jesus’ direction. This shows God can multiply whatever we present to Him for His purposes.
Key Takeaways on What the Bible Says About Storing Food
Some key takeaways on biblical wisdom related to food storage include:
- God is the ultimate provider of both daily bread and stored resources for the future. Dependence remains on Him.
- Planning ahead prudently under God’s direction is wise while still trusting in His provision for the unknown future. Moderation and balance are key.
- Generosity out of stores is righteous while hoarding in fear or greed is condemned. Avoid waste through sound management.
- Preparing both for short-term observable needs and potential long-term events has its place. Seek the Spirit’s balance.
- Figures like Joseph, Elisha and Jesus model godly wisdom in handling food resources to provide for many.
The Bible commends food storage that exhibits faith in God’s provision, stewardship of resources, generosity towards others, and balance in preparedness. When we store food prudently while remaining anchored in God and His kingdom purposes, biblical principles come to life. God can guide and bless efforts to responsibly provide for our families and communities. At the same time, material goods stored up always take second place to the “bread of life” Jesus offers that meets our deepest needs eternally.
Food storage done rightly aligns with biblical values of stewardship, unselfishness, moderation and faith. As with all areas, we ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom to take Scriptural principles and apply them in ways appropriate to our local context today. Storing food and other resources in order to be able to generously share with others in times of hardship brings God glory. At the same time, the Bible warns strongly against selfishness or lack of trust in God that could taint such efforts.
As Christians, God calls us to be faithful stewards of the gifts He provides while ultimately relying on Him alone. Attempting to perfectly predict and control the future through excessive stockpiling contradicts faith. When a spirit of prudence, balance and compassion undergird food storage, the Bible depicts it as wise and pleasing to God. The Body of Christ has the opportunity to lead the way in exemplifying biblical values of wisdom, faith and generosity in how we store and distribute food.