There are a few television shows that I catch a glimpse of every now and then and wonder about those who the show is about. One of the ones that I am always amazed at is Hoarders. Hoarders is a show about those folks who have accumulated a large amount of things; in fact everything. There doesn’t seem to be any one particular item they hoard they just hoard everything. It gets so bad they can’t eat on a kitchen table, or find a chair to sit in. Sometimes they can’t even find a bed to sleep in. Families have long ago left them and no longer visit them. For those who have animals the smell in the house can be overpowering. I have to wonder how in the world they managed to get this way.
My Thesaurus defines hoarding as someone who collects, is a saver, accumulator and one who stashes. I also like this definition: a squirrel. Also on the list is a miser. As I was thinking about the squirrel we know squirrels love to find nuts and hide them or keep them until winter. Squirrels are known as a stasher. They stash their goodies away until it is needed. Most squirrels usually use their stash and then collect more the next season or the next time. Hoarders I don’t think ever use anything up they just keep it thinking one day they will use it, but for a lot of these folks that day never comes.
As I was thinking about this God showed me many people on their faith walk are hoarders. Now I know you are thinking the same thing I thought when God began to share His thoughts with me. Hoarding God’s word in your heart isn’t bad. Neither is hoarding prayers, or devotions, or church attendance and bible studies. Hoarding God’s love doesn’t seem so bad either. Collecting scriptures and accumulating Christian books and devotionals don’t seem like a bad idea. Stashing prayers for a rainy day or stashing prayer requests for God until a better day comes along seems quite reasonable.
God soon reminded me it’s not about holding on to those things. It’s not about hoarding those things. It’s all about learning and sharing and giving away. Love is great, but unless you give it away can it really be good? God reminded me we are not only to receive God’s love, but we are also to give it away. God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Mark 12:31 reminds us, “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” The first commandment is to love God and then love your neighbor. It doesn’t say to hoard God’s love. We are to receive His love and then pass it on.
I can be accused of being an accumulator of some great books. I read them and put them on the shelf. I learn and grow from them. I glean lessons from them and then I put them on the shelf. Very rarely do I read a book a second or third time. I might read them a second time, but never a third time. What good could come from those books if I would learn to share those books with people who could learn and grow from them as well? I am like the squirrel I stash them away thinking someday I might just need them, but so far that day has never come. There have been a few times I have used them as reference material, but I think others could get so much better use from them instead of sitting on a shelf. God does not want us to hoard things that could certainly help others on their walk.
Reading scripture is great. Once again though, we are called to share scripture with others. What good is knowledge if we never share it with anyone? Not only am I to share scripture with others who are going through some tough times, but I need to put what I read into action. “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.” (James 1:22-24) Reading scripture is great, but we need to be able to share those same words with people who need to hear them when God calls you to them. You may visit someone in the hospital that needs to hear God’s word of encouragement. When someone has lost a loved one sharing scriptures just might be the medicine they need. We really need to read those words and then act on what God is calling us to do when read the Bible.
Some of the hoarders I have watched have lots of money. They are quite wealthy people. They are just misers. They save and save for a rainy day, but the problem is a rainy day never comes, or maybe it just isn’t rainy enough for them to use it. 1 John 3:17, “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” Most of us agree God has blessed us financially, but what good is that blessing if we don’t share it with those in need? God does not call us to be hoarders of money, He calls us to share with those who have less than we do.
Once again you could have said in years past I was a hoarder of clothes. I love clothes. I love t-shirts, I love tank tops, and I love clothes. I hung on to my mother’s coat after she died just because I could not part with it. One day I opened the closet door and I could hear my mom say, “What good is that coat doing you or anyone else if you aren’t going to wear it?” I found someone who needed a coat and gave it to them. I smiled knowing my mom was looking down smiling too. Now when I gather too many clothes I am quick to share with those in need. Hoarding clothes is not something God wants us to do when others are lacking.
I could go on with all those things we often in faith have a tendency to hoard, but God calls us not to hoard. He calls us to share with others. He calls us to move out and act on what we read. He calls us to share with others who are in need. I have found out the more I give away the more I receive back. It’s true for the love I give away, it’s true when I share scriptures or prayers with others, it’s true when I give my frogs away instead of hoarding them.
“Hold everything in your hands lightly; otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open.”
― Corrie ten Boom
I won’t be so quick to criticize those hoarders the next time. Instead, I will look inward and see what it is I am holding onto that God wants me to let go of. I am going to begin to let go of those things that could really help others whether it be material things or things that will help them on their faith journey.
Are you a hoarder or are you quick to share with those in need? What is God calling you to share or give away that you may find hard or challenging? If you are like me and hoarding in one area or another I challenge you to join me in learning to let loose and give to those who could really use what we are hanging onto for that rainy day that may never come.
“When someone steals another’s clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who
could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry;
the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your
closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”
― Basil the Great
Dear God: What is it I am hoarding? Show me what areas I need to do a better job in sharing with others. Help me to realize scriptures won’t do me any good if I don’t act on what I read or learn. Help me to realize I am blessed with clothes while there are some who are without a change of clothing. Let me share. Never let me hang onto things so tightly I can’t give them away if you call me to. Instead of being like squirrels and stashing things away for later remind me to use them to help others along their journey in this life. Thank you for blessing me. Help me to be a blessing to others. Amen