Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What are You Hoarding?

Scriptures Used
Genesis 41:49
Proverbs 6:6-8
Proverbs 27:12
Matthew 6:25-34
Luke 12:20-21
Mark 10:21
Matthew 6:19-21

I watch a lot of Hoarders Buried Alive. I am constantly amazed at the amount of stuff and junk people can collect. As I was thinking about last night’s episode, it came to me that while some people have actual medical reasons that they hoard, like they’re OCD or autistic, but most people are just insecure and worried about tomorrow. I think that most people have a little bit of hoarder in them, by hoarding I don’t mean keeping a few special keepsakes as long as you don’t go overboard, but I do believe most of us have some stuff, be it a lot or a little, that we should probably clear out.

First off, hoarding isn’t the same as preparing. We are actually taught in the Bible to prepare. We SHOULD be responsible and plan ahead. Even God told Jacob to store up grain. “Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.” Genesis 41:49

Proverbs also tells us to not be lazy and to prepare.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
~Proverbs 6:6-8 (NIV)

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
~Proverbs 27:12 (NLT)

There is nothing wrong with being prepared. The Bible actually says it is prudent. It is prudent to have emergency supplies available. When we lived in Florida, we were prepared for hurricanes. Now in the Midwest, we stay prepared for ice storms, snow storms, and tornados. In California, you would prepare for earthquakes. This is not hoarding. It is following the example of Jacob.

Hoarding is excessive. Hoarding is an inability or unwillingness to throw unneeded items away. Hoarding gets in the way of day to day living and fills up space. In short, hoarding owns you.

Why do people hoard or act like “pack rats”? Fear? Worry? Making sure they die with the most toys? While most certainly hoarding can be psychological, I think it is also partially spiritual.

Let’s first look at fear and worry.

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I love the first seven words, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry…” ***I SO need to impress that inside my brain as my son leaves for the Marines in just a few weeks!***   Back to the topic ...  God promises to supply all of our needs so there is no need for worry. We live in a worry filled society and have become a worried filled people. Worry is a distraction. The Greek word for distraction is ‘aperispatos’ which literally means ‘to draw away’ or ‘impediment’. Worry either draws us away from trust in God or impedes our trust in God. Either way, it isn’t good.

The passage goes on to tell us that our Heavenly Father, who cares to feed the birds and clothes the flowers, cares far more for us than he does “the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire.” (v.30) He is certainly capable of providing for not just SOME of our needs, but for ALL of them. Those who do not trust him spend their live chasing their needs (v.32), but the Christian can have peace, instead of worry, knowing that He who created us knows how to care for us ... if we just have faith and seek Him, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (v.33) Of course we are expected to WORK and not be lazy as we are warned in Proverbs 6:6-8 above. However, it is still He who “gives you the ability to produce wealth.” (Deuteronomy 8:18a)

In one sentence, hoarding over worry is a spiritual issue based in a lack of faith in our Lord and Savior to provide.

Well, what about those who hoard and accumulate in order to “die with the most toys”? Let’s take a look at Luke 12:20-21:

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (NIV)

Those are pretty harsh words. This excerpts comes from the parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) In short, the rich man had so much grain that he decided to pull down his old barns to build bigger ones to keep more grain in so he could then sit around an be lazy. So many wrong attitudes here. One, he wanted to keep it all to himself so he could, two eat, drink, and be merry and lazy!!! I’d like to assert that his wealth wasn’t the problem. The problem was that his earthly wealth far exceeded his spiritual wealth. He wasn’t “rich towards God.” He was focused on his “money”. It had become his “aperispatos”.

There is only one cure for this type of hoarding. It is found in Mark 10:21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him … ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor … Then come, follow me.’” How did the rich young ruler respond? He walked away with his face down. His “hoard” of riches was more important that his spiritual wealth. This doesn’t mean that wealth is bad. Look at Solomon! But if one is “hoarding” to have the biggest, the best, the most, instead of earning to invest into the Kingdom of God and to help those in need, there is a deep spiritual void.

So take a look around you. What do you hoard? Is your collection of garden gnomes overtaking your home? Do you have a difficult time not purchasing every one that you see? Maybe it’s time to sell them off and use that money in a way that serves God and stores up an even greater reward in heaven.

I conclude with Matthew 6:19-21

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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I have said these things unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
~John 16:33