Perhaps you know someone or seen someone on a reality TV show that is a hoarder. Those folks live to gather stuff and fill every available space they own. They seem often seem indiscriminate and disorganized yet when pressed they know why they have something and where it is. And then there are collectors, folks who specialize in gathering only a certain type or class of thing such as matchbook covers, hats, pencils, farm toys, antiques, or just about anything else you can imagine. There’s this guy in Las Vegas that collected sneakers and broke a record with 2388 pairs. I think that we all do this to some degree or another; gathering and keeping things that mean something to us. I have a small collection of rocks selected from various places we’ve vacationed. I also have a large pile of various electronic pieces and parts, most of which are kept in place by “you never know when this might be needed.” Not only do we tend to hoard and collect physical things but we often do the same with spiritual things.
Did you know that you can collect good and generous deeds? Consider Paul’s letter to Timothy, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:18–19, NASB95) Proverbs reminds us that wisdom and knowledge can be stored up. “Wise people treasure knowledge, but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.” (Proverbs 10:14, NLT) And, “My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:1–2, NASB95) The Psalmist reminds us to treasure God’s Word, “The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.” (Psalm 19:7–10, NLT) Lastly, Jesus taught us, “ Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;” (Matthew 6:19–20, NASB95) So many good and godly things that we can collect and hold on to.
There are also a few spiritual things that we’re instructed not to collect. For instance, Paul says that love, “keeps no record of being wronged.” (1 Corinthians 13:5b, NLT) How often do we store up the wrongs that people have done to us? Paul also tells us about the terrible price we may be storing up for refusing to turn from sin. “But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:5, NLT) Paul’s warning covers a lot a ground in few words. The good news is that God’s love through Jesus Christ can wash away the punishments we have stored up. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9, NLT)
I am a hoarder and a collector of various things, and so are you. The more important question is what are we hoarding and collecting? Are we choosing the good things that can be stored up in heaven? Or do we only desire the things of earth? Are we storing up and treasuring God’s word? Depositing His wisdom, grace, and love in our hearts? Are we gathering up friendships and relationships or do we hoard our personal space and time? The interesting thing about the economy of God’s kingdom, the more love and care we give away in Christ’s name increases our treasure that is stored in heaven. I can, with that in mind, encourage you to be the best hoarder possible in God’s kingdom.