The Three Essentials


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” (Prov. 6:6-8).1

Trusting God first and always is the only way to survive serious future crises. “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1). There are three resources that you can improve now to plan and prepare for future emergencies:

Spiritual: Seek a close, trusting, daily relationship with God.

Health: Maximize your health.

Financial: Set aside emergency resources.

The coming crisis will test every follower of Jesus Christ. Yet these three essential elements (spiritual, physical, and financial resources) are crucial factors for survival. The first two are portable and difficult to take away from you. These first two essentials will prepare you for whatever your circumstances might be during the next emergency.


Our spiritual relationship with God is the most important element of planning for and surviving an emergency. Jesus understood this important survival factor.

“Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.”2

The spiritual preparation for future emergencies is the most important that anyone can make. This daily preparation by prayer, studying the Scriptures, and sharing your faith with friends will prepare the Christian for anything that might come in the future. A strong spiritual experience with God will be very hard to take from you during a crisis. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher that will guide you in this relationship with God.


Our physical health may vary by what our heredity and historical habits have left to us. At any point in time we can choose to improve our health by seeking to understand the teachings on health that God has shared with the Seventh-day Adventist Church: drinking pure water, eating a plant-based diet, and (with guidance from your physician) implementing an exercise program. Our health may be compromised by poor habits and practices in the past, but there is no better time than now to improve your health. With God’s mercy and blessing, the body may restore itself.

Many resources are available to help us learn how to maximize our health. One of the best books to guide your thinking concerning the broad principles of health is The Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White. “ ‘A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine.’ Proverbs 17:22. Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trust in God’s love and care—these are health’s greatest safeguard. To the Israelites they were to be the very keynote of life.”3


“For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it” (Eccl. 7:12). The financial resources, if still available to you during hard times, will help to cushion the impact and allow for time to seek the best way to resolve challenging issues. If your financial emergency fund is not available, then the spiritual resources and the investment you’ve made in your health will give you the courage to trust in God to provide for all your needs. “Blessed is he who considers the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” (Ps. 41:1).

Having a spending plan (budget) will also help to prepare for future emergencies. A spending plan allows you to control your money rather than your money (or lack thereof) controlling you. With a spending plan, you understand at the beginning of the month what is needed, and you have decided where the money will go. After gaining experience in planning your personal spending, you will find that you have funds to pay your bills when they are due, and you may find that you have money still available at the end of the month.

In the recent COVID-19 pandemic many people had no spending plan and no reserve resources to assist them in making it through the time of mass unemployment. A spending plan will help you to set aside resources for emergencies, as the ant does in our opening Bible text (Prov. 6:6-8).

An important part of this spending plan is to put God first by budgeting to return a faithful 10 percent tithe and to give a regular percentage-based offering (Promise). If tithe and offerings test your faith and trust in God during good times, the chances of your being faithful to God during bad times are slim. The way that we build our faith and trust in God in the good times is to be continually faithful by putting God first in our everyday lives.

The spending plan should include an emergency fund. An emergency fund is three to six months of your current monthly expenses. These are the funds required to live each month. If you have fully funded emergency resources when an emergency happens, you have resources available to meet the current crisis without undue stress. This is because having fully-funded emergency resources allows time to sort things out and, with God’s blessing, come up with a solution.


With a strong relationship with God, good physical health, and a spending plan with an emergency fund you will have the best chance of survival during a crisis. God told us through His prophet that we need to learn from the ant to prepare for future emergencies. Ants prepare a little bit at a time, but with diligence and persistence, they store plenty to carry them through the difficult seasons. The ant is an example of planning and preparing during the good times, so resources are available for future hard times. God can and does provide for all our needs. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). God provides during the good times, during the planning and storing times, so that during the hard times you are prepared. God can always be trusted.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt. 6:26). Jesus died for every person who has lived on earth. That is how valuable you are to God. If God sent His only Son to die for you, He can be trusted to know and meet all your needs no matter what is going on around you.

1 Unless otherwise indicated, texts are from the New King James Version. Copyright ˝ 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1892), pp. 62, 63.
3 Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1905), p. 281.

Dennis Carlson

Dennis Carlson is director of Planned Giving and Trust Services for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.