October 3, 2022

A Word from Walker

We have just weathered our first Hurricane of the Season. In Florida, lives were lost, homes were devastated, businesses obliterated, highways were swept away and almost three million people were left without power. The total impact of Ian remains to be seen. But organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, Baptists on Mission and SendRelief are already on the scene providing food and other stop-in-the-gap assistance. More long-term help will be on the way. I am grateful for fellow Baptists from our State Convention and NAMB that are geared up and ready for tough times like these.
While storms like the scale of Ian are rare, lots of planning and preparation goes into contingency plans to deal with storms of any scale. No organization, including the Federal Government, simply ramps up and slaps things together when called upon in a time of crisis. There are entire departments and groups that do this kind of planning way in advance in order that their energy can be spent on delivery of goods and services rather than hunting down these essential things or madly scrambling about to resource the right people to the right places. Even the uber-trained personnel of the Special Operations Community have essential survival items stored in a smaller container called a “Go-Bag” for times when they have to drop almost everything and find a quick exit from a battlefield.
This brings to mind the overall principle of preparation. You have heard it said that you should have provisions like water, fuel (or fuel alternatives) and food ready in case of the loss of power. Scurrying about like folks do when an upcoming snowstorm is announced is no way to handle the crisis that comes into play when you are without electricity for several days. Being prepared helps you not to panic or be without when the calamity comes.
In a similar manner, we need to ask ourselves the question: Have we prepared ourselves spiritually when difficulty comes? When you think about it, trials are more commonplace than we hate to admit. If this is true (and it really is) how have we prepared our souls for trouble? Perhaps we could think of it this way: What spiritual sustenance and shelter have we laid up for times like these? One of the principles we see in Scripture is the litmus test of true treasure. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In this passage, Jesus lays bare the human tendency to place our deepest value on things that can be stolen or corrupted. Many of the poor victims of Ian had their worldly valuables laid to waste. I can’t imagine what that would be like. As I prayed for them this morning I recognized that we are one storm away from the same thing happening to us.
But as devastating as this is, it could be worse. The loss of life is greater than the loss of goods. Your child or grandchild is worth so much more than your dish collection, guns or fill-in-the-blank. When we think about it, the only things we can invest in that last are the Word of God and souls. We can be emptied of our bank accounts but still be wealthy if our lives are rich in spiritual things. We will want to rebuild our homes if we have someone to rebuild it with. The reliability of your sustenance and shelter really have to do with how deeply you are embedded in your spiritual heritage in Christ, and how widely you are invested in the lives of others. The way we can become truly wealthy is by investing our lives into what God says really matters. I am thankful that I am a rich man because of what Jesus has done for me. This truth has and will help me in the future when tough times come.
Grateful for you,
Walker Armstrong
Executive Director