The Hoarder I Know

13 08 2011

Ever watched the show Hoarders? It is a voyeuristic hour, peering into people’s lives who can’t unclench their fists from their junk; junk quite literally; loads of it. Of course, they don’t think it is junk. People who hoard think every scrap of everything they own is valuable and most of all…it’s theirs.

It is a hard show to watch because it defies logic. For the onlooker, it is morbidly fascinating to see how these people’s “stuff” has become an occupation of amassing and protecting, beyond reason; and it isn’t for the good of anyone else because even if there were something of value in their disaster area, they wouldn’t and couldn’t share it.

The things that fill all the rooms, all the shelves, all the floor-space leaves little room for relationship, and this is the saddest part of it: there is no spot left for meaningful connection with loved ones in the life of a hoarder. A hoarder, always distracted by the cares and concerns of what they have, most often can’t look past it to see what they don’t have: meaningful, life-giving relationship with friends and family. They can’t look over the pile to see the longing in the eyes of those who love them; they relate best to inanimate objects over people.

It is an extremely slow, painful process to pry a hoarder from their obsession. It is painful to try to begin to bring order, to have them part with anything because every item has their attention. It is as if the plastic and paper and metal, the whole heap of it, is their god. They tend it, serve it, worry over it; they are consumed by it. The things they own, own them.

Yet 2 Corinthians calls every follower of Jesus to be free, completely free, of anything that even resembles hoarding. The book calls us to overflow with generosity as an antidote to thinking that anything of this world can satisfy. It calls us to true stewardship as opposed to penny-pinching, so that you care for your family and still have much to offer others. Chapter 9:8 says, “You will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” Still, how many of us squirm over sharing; fighting the scarcity mentality?

  • Don’t I ask myself, “Will there be enough for me?”
  • Don’t I wonder, “Will I get my share?”
  • Don’t I keep track of my things, at times a little too obsessively?
  • Don’t I find it hard to lend at times?
  • Don’t I have unnecessary clutter?

Do I really believe that I can shower people with goodness and still I will have everything I need; or am I the hoarder I know? Can I release my things, my home, my time into the Lord’s hands and trust that He will help me to give and that I will still be well provided for?

The Bible calls me not to worry about foolish “things” – not what I will wear or eat or even where I will lay my head down at night. It calls me to be satisfied and content and above all, generous.

God LAVISHES me with love and generosity. He gives to me before I even have thought to ask. He is delighted to bless His children, to give wonderful gifts to me. God is so generous and I know I don’t deserve it! There must be something I can do in return…

And indeed there is.

When a cup of cold water is called for, pour it. When someone needs warmth, warm them. When a room is needed, lend it. When a meal would bless a stranger, invite him. When someone’s situation is complicated, enter it. When I have something to give, give it…with JOY!

Jesus led the way for us; He was and is the anti-hoarder and if I were to share His physical company right now, I know that I would be terribly embarrassed by my apprehension.

“Let us give up our work, our plans, ourselves, our lives, our loved ones, our influence, our all, right into God’s hand; and then, when we have given all to Him, there will be nothing left for us to be troubled about.” — Hudson Taylor

— Teresa Klassen

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