Hoarding, as I understand it, is a disease that strikes the prioritization gland within the organization system of the human psyche. Too much stuff combined with a lack of reasoned storage capacity (often seasoned with a few cats) results in toppled piles of debilitating waste.
Stuff is not the only form of hoarding-cancer. Ideas, information, and interests can also clog the mental arteries of unsuspecting collectors who gather beyond their useful storage capacity and without a sufficient outlet for their gathering thoughts.
Such is the viral threat facing many Christians.
In a day and age where a dearth of books, movies, bible studies and seminars vie for our attention (and often for our dollar), the disease of religious hoarding lingers close behind.
Never before have Christians been availed of so much “helpful” information, instructions, and new ideas. As the minor prophet forewarned, in the end times there will be no end to the number of books written. Hence the threat of information overload and the mental consequences of over-gathering without the ability to process and use what we so eagerly have collected.
Perhaps we forget the wise admonition of God as he provided Manna for his hungry children: Only gather what you need for that day; anything extra to your immediate needs will rot before the night is over.
In other words, the problem is not necessarily in the stuff or in the instruction, but in the limited ability to process and implement what we have gathered. As Jesus stated, now that you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. As the foolish servant discovered, burying our given talent, whether in the ground or under a pile of mental debris, will result in both the removal of what we have gathered and the removal of ourselves from the presence of the Master.
Many will likely recall the proverb that our lives are not measured by the abundance of what we have, be that material things or be that religious instruction. It is what we do with what we have that results in praise from on high.
So the next time you grace the halls of church or warm a cushioned seat in a small group or tap your foot to a new song on Christian radio, take a moment to consider what you intend to do with that information. Tossing it onto the pile of unused information gathered with the pretense of “growing” may develop into the cancer of religious hoarding.
Instead, consider how Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Mount. Measure what you have learned at church or from a Christian author to the wise man who built his house upon the Rock.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” [Mt 7:24-25; emphasis added]
Organize your good intentions and let them find the breath of Jesus’ life in you. Hear a sermon, then look for a way to put some detail of that message into practice. Pray a little different, love a little more, treat someone more special, rest with less anxiety, trust more firmly, give more generously, serve more willingly, repent more openly, submit more gracefully, lead more gently, let what you learn find an outlet in you.
Then, when the Master comes to visit, he will find your mental and spiritual rooms well organized, well lit, and well implemented…and you will likely hear those heart-thrilling words: “well done, good and faithful servant”!
So what can you do today with what you have just read in this post?