Emergency Savings: An Idea as Old as Egypt
Bad things are going to happen in life. When they do, you’ll be glad you have an emergency fund.
It’s not a question of “if” an emergency is going to happen… just a question of “when.” And when it does, you’ll be glad you have an emergency fund.
I used to live each day hoping that disaster wouldn’t strike. I spent all the money I made and didn’t hold on to anything to protect me from unforeseen expenses. But as I studied the Bible, i discovered how important it is to have an emergency fund to prepare for the inevitable.
An emergency fund can be difficult to start. We would love to spend our money on so many other things. And most of us don’t like to expect bad things out of life. Instead, we live with the expectation that the future will be generally good, pleasant and enjoyable.
Bad things happens in life, and sooner or later they will happen to each of us.
This optimistic outlook can turn into an attitude of invincibility. After all, how many times have you seen people suffering from a health emergency or natural disaster on TV and thought to yourself “I’m glad that won’t ever happen to me”?
Those people never thought it would happen to them either. But bad things happens in life, and sooner or later they will happen to each of us.
An Emergency Fund in the Bible
So how should you handle financial emergencies? With an emergency fund that you have saved in the good times. It’s an age-old principle the Bible teaches in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
In Genesis 41, Joseph has become an adviser to the Pharaoh of Egypt and interprets some of Pharaoh’s dreams. God reveals to him that Egypt is about to experience seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine. So with the knowledge that the good times won’t last forever, Joseph orders the nation to store some of its agricultural wealth for the upcoming drought:
“Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
Joseph created history’s first recorded emergency fund. The Egyptians may have enjoyed the extra food during their times of abundance, but doing so would have left them desperate when the famine struck. Joseph’s wisdom saved thousands of people from dying of starvation.
Applying Joseph’s Wisdom
Joseph’s story is larger than most of our financial lives. But we can apply his to our own circumstances. We may not live through seven years of famine, but bad things will happen to us eventually.
Joseph’s wisdom saved thousands of people from dying of starvation.
We live in a world full of broken people and things that are falling apart. Sooner or later, those people or things are going to cost us money. If we’re not prepared with emergency savings, we end up dangerously exposed to bad circumstances, forced to take on debt or neglect life’s necessities to pay an unforeseen bill.
In other articles, we deal with practical ideas about emergency funds and how to build them. For now, though, take a cue from Joseph. In times of abundance, prepare for times of lack.
After all, it’s not a question of “if.” It’s only a question of “when.”