Daily Proverbial, from Ecclesiastes, 10 September 2012

Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor. Ecclesiastes 7, verse 12.

Is your income a shelter or is it an escape? No, this isn’t one of those Sunday morning sermons that tries to guilt you into feeling bad because you make more than the average Joe and you don’t give 90 percent of it to the church. Do with your money what you will. It’s yours, not mine. I have earned my own and, to be quite frank, I really don’t care much how much you make or what you do with yours. It’s your business, nobody else’s.

And yet, I’m going to ask you that question again: is your income a shelter or is it an escape? Here at Chez Terry we’re into the Walking Dead. If you haven’t watched it, The Walking Dead is a show on AMC about life after a zombie apocalypse. Season three starts next month, and my son and I have been busy watching seasons one and two on DVD. Before watching these, I really couldn’t have cared less about zombies. I mean, it’s far-fetched and improbable. Zombies are just characters from cheesy monster movies. But the show is really well done and it tells the story of a group of survivors as they, well, survive after something happens that makes the dead come alive and start eating anyone left. In such a time, when the world as we know it has ceased to exist, money, status, wealth, and affluence mean nothing. What means something is wits, knowledge, and the ability to survive. Conventional knowledge, even common sense, have broken down.

What good would your income do you in a zombie apocalypse? For all that matter, what good would our incomes do us in ANY apocalypse? In such a situation, there would be no difference between the billionaire trying to survive and the ex-con trying to survive. Now, let’s get something straight: there are no zombies. There never have been. There is zero chance of anything like a zombie apocalypse happening. If there were, though, what good would your 401K do? Or your clean house? Or having the project plan completed ahead of schedule? Or making sure you did your kids’ homework so they could get all As? What good would you do? And where would you turn?

When the world around you breaks down, where will you turn?

That’s one point we find about the Walking Dead that is intriguing. The characters become more and more base, trying hard to retain some semblance of being civilized while living in a world that has become brutal and unreliably random. Where do the people turn when things break down? Mid-way through season two, one character turns to Scripture, insisting that, in the previous weeks of mayhem, they have tried to get in their Bible study when they could. At one point, the same character says “I always knew He promised resurrection. I just thought he had something else in mind.” Not long after, he’s fighting for survival, shooting zombies in the head as they advance on and on, overrunning the farm that has been in the man’s family for two centuries.

How quickly do you think our world could break down and what do you think you would do if it did?

When hordes of zombies are overrunning your farm, would you grab your loved ones and a gun or would you go print out your latest investment statements? Or think of it this way: if the EMP device detonates over your city, would you think first of trying to count your money or would you think first of trying to fill the bathtub before the water turns off?

A few nights ago, the power went out at our house. We had company who had traveled all the way across country to see us and, after a long, hectic day, in 90 degree heat, the power (and the A/C) went out. Everything went pitch-black and after a few minutes of visiting, we all went to bed. In bed, I laid there and fell asleep praying, silently thanking God for all the many blessings He gave me that day, including the power outage. I reminded myself that the power would soon be on again, but what if it hadn’t come on? This column wouldn’t have been written, all the things we did through this busy weekend wouldn’t have happened, and my life here in easy living North Texas would have been greatly disrupted. Without power, I think it wouldn’t take long for the ‘normal’ situation here in the suburbs to evolve – or devolve – into something unexpected. I think people here on Easy Street would have difficulty adapting if the power, water, and gas went off. I know I would. And yet I’ve traveled to places around the world where people still live without power, running water and such. Aside from the problem of basic sanitation, the bottom line is that people still live.

What is it that gives us survival skills? Wisdom. It’s wisdom to watch and learn, to be observant, to trust in faith and our abilities, to do what is necessary based on what we know. God doesn’t say to us ‘stick your head in the sand and let me take care of everything.’ He says ‘believe and have faith’ and He then gives us knowledge, abilities, resources and each other.

Now that I’ve watched The Walking Dead, I think that the people of Uganda, Laos and interior Ecuador would survive the zombie apocalypse better than people in Frisco, Texas. If you ask my son, he’s convinced the zombies are coming. If you go to our local mall, or maybe Wal Mart on a Saturday morning, you might think he has a point. Knowing what I know and trusting in Him and that, I’m ready for it (as well as season three of that TV show).

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