Here I sit, so far away from all the action of Y2K. I’ve received enough information to be kept informed. I’ve heard bits and pieces of what might happen, what could happen, what may never happen and what surely will happen. The country I live in is very low on the list of countries that are prepared for Y2K. Which is comforting? Where does faith lie in this? Where does common sense/planning lie in all of this? How much do we prepare? Do we not prepare? I’m confused just thinking about it all. If it became really bad here, would we leave behind the nationals we’ve grown to know and love? What about our children? I can’t help but have these questions swirling around in my head. But due to the fact I already live in a third-world country I also cannot help but think that it seems that we already live with all the “Y2K” problems. Everyday.
When I read a quote from John Piper, I knew I had met a kindred spirit. He expressed what I had been feeling. The following is from John Piper’s January 3, 1999 sermon at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis:
Do you want a prophetic word about Y2K? First, the greatest need on January 1, 2000, will not be the basements stocked with food, water and generators, but hearts stocked with the Word of God. You will be fruitful, you will flourish, you will be life giving not by seeking the very things the world seeks, but by delighting in the Word of God and meditating on it day and night…
The other prophetic word about Y2K is this: Nothing is going to happen on January 1, 2000 – nothing – that is as bad as what is already happening to persecuted and starved Christians in Sudan. Or to the staggering orphans in Malawai or other AIDS-devastated countries in Africa. Or to survivors in Honduras and Nicaragua. Or to lonely, dying, old people in dozens of skilled nursing care centers…who have outlived their families.
There is something that smells of hypocrisy in the talk about stockpiling supplies in our homes to ‘minister’ to others in the coming Y2K crisis, when there are more places to minister to this very day that are worse crises than anything that is going to happen a year from now. Y2K will happen to someone every day in 1999 – many of them within your reach. Delight yourself in the Word of God, meditate on it day and night, and then take the fruit of your life and go and minister to the lost and the hungry and the thirsty that are already so many. Then you won’t even notice when Y2K happens.
I was so moved by his comments. I couldn’t help but think he’s got it right, he’s seeing “the truly big picture.”
The western church is on the move because of Y2K. Even now they are taking the opportunities that fear may present and ministering through it! I believe in that. Go and do it! At the same time, churches are stocking up in order to serve the community. Individual families are storing up water, wood, food, etc. to help circumvent not only their own potential problems but more importantly, to help others.
This next part is so transparent, I’m a bit embarrassed. It has to do with “basic cooking ingredients”. Potentially, Y2K will temporarily stop the flow of basic necessities in the United States. We moved from opulent America to this country where I can’t buy some ingredients. I thought I was a generous person. But, let me tell you, ask me for my baking powder, maple flavoring or brown sugar and my answer will be “No” (well that is, of course, unless I have enough for my family and more coming into the country soon). Why? Because those items can’t be found here. My “generosity” has not always increased during hard times. As a matter of fact, my greater sinfulness has! Imagine the ex-pat community. Do we all “share” these items? No! It’s the honest truth. Even as seasoned veterans of ministry, we don’t always share our hard-to-get items.
When I see what is printed about Y2K and people saying they are stocking up in order to share, I see the potential problem. I had no idea how “mild” stress would bring out my desire to keep myself and my family in tact over what others might need.
My prayer for the western churches, preparing to stockpile in “order to reach out”, is that they would have the vantage point from heaven.
View the original print magazine where this article was first published.