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Let Your Light Shine

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Some voices in the prepper movement urge people to keep things secret, to hide opinions and resources. Don’t state your counter-cultural opinions publicly; the government might come after you! Lock up your food supply, hide your generator, otherwise people will steal what you and your family need! This urging may sound prudent or paranoid, depending on how you view the world. But Christ commands us to freely give as we have freely received, and to let our light shine before men.

I think this command requires us to openly acknowledge what we believe to be true, whether or not we think it will be popular. Jesus didn’t tell his disciples that their words would be well received, but he did tell them to bear the word, to awaken others. We must speak considerately, remembering that haranguing is more apt to harden people’s resistance than to make them think carefully. We must speak humbly, remembering that we know only in part and we may err even in our passionate convictions. We must listen as well as speak, remembering that God’s messages to us may come from people with whom we disagree. But we need to speak the truth as we have seen it, and leave its reception in God’s hands.

We also need to share our skills and resources rather than hiding them. This is part of loving our neighbors as ourselves. It also may be practically safer than hoarding and hiding.  If our preparations are sane, are fearless, and add some value to our lives now as well as providing for possible future troubles, our neighbors may be inspired to dig their own root cellars, grow their own gardens, provide in ways that strengthen the community for daily life and for the hard times that may come. If we have reached out to our neighbors, helped them, taught them, learned from them, they are apt to work with us and look out for us rather than fearing us.

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