July 2 I Friday
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” —Luke 12:34
About eight years ago, when I still worked at Urban Promise, I was approached by a caseworker that asked me, along with others, to help a family who was in distress. The family needed help cleaning out their housing unit because, as it turned out, the head of the family was a hoarder. Up until that point, I had no experience with hoarding.
I remember vividly when I walked up to the home with my team on a Saturday morning. When the door opened, I could not believe what I saw. The three-bedroom unit was literally filled with garbage bags heaped up to waist deep in every single room. There was garbage strewn everywhere. But what struck me was that each garbage bag was filled with household items or the same type of clothing in batches. The woman, who was the head of the household, just had her fifth child. I found car seats, even though she did not own a car, and she had six of them.
We helped this family throw out about 60 bags of garbage. It was a difficult process to watch the woman trying to let go of these things. At the end of the day, when we left the unit, I remember driving home and just weeping. I thought to myself, “Lord, how do You do it? How do You see a world that is in desperate need and utterly broken? How do You handle all the pain that You see in the world?” To be honest, I did not have much hope that this family would not go back to hoarding.
The desire to accumulate more has been a struggle since the beginning. Even when Eve had everything she could ever eat in the Garden of Eden, she wanted a bite of the forbidden fruit. While there were no marketing firms or computer algorithms to study our buying trends to pitch the perfect purchase during the New Testament times, Jesus warned, “Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15).
I recognize that hoarding has a lot of mental health issues underneath the surface, but one of the things that struck me that day is that sin is no respecter of social class. The desire for more does not respect how much money we have or where we live; that desire can drive all of us to some degree of allowing greed and hoarding to take root in our lives. As we are submerged in a culture that values excess, may we be intentional and sober-minded as we navigate this life.
Prayer: Almighty God, help guard my heart against all kinds of greed, keep me away from hoarding and desiring for more. You are my sufficiency. Thank You, Lord.