I’m a week off media today in honor of the 7 Challenge, so today I’ve got a guest! Please welcome Brittany Robles. We only know each other from Twitter, but since we share a love of Jesus, R & B, and Jen Hatmaker, I thought we should be friends. If you wannt be like me, you’ll find and befriend Brittany on Twitter or over on her super-fun blog. So cue up some awesome intro music in your head, because herrrreeeee’sss Brittany!!!
Confession: I love the show Hoarders. Not love as in, “It makes me feel warm and fuzzy.” But more love as in, “I feel sick but I can’t turn away, and now I need to throw away all of my stuff before I turn into a hoarder.” You following?
Anyway, as I was on the subway commuting to work this morning, being wrecked again and again by Jen’s words in 7, I started to think about that concept of hoarding. About how it probably starts off innocently enough, but an item becomes a box of items, and suddenly boxes fill one room, then two, and the process continues until you’re numb to the fact that you’re living in absolutely chaos and, often times, filth.
And then I started to think about the concept of spiritual hoarding. We attend our bible studies, our small groups, our Sunday and mid-week church services. We talk theology with one another over coffee and load up on programs within the church. We hoard our blessings–the material and immaterial alike. And we hardly pay it any mind.
7 is uncomfortable for me because it is exposing my hoard. It is exposing my filth. It is exposing the emotional baggage I never wanted to deal with. It is exposing mindsets and beliefs that have nothing to do with Jesus and everything to do with selfish tendencies, including the need to “save face” in front of others.
What if Hoarders is an exact representation of the spiritual lives of so many wealthy Americans? (I’m talking to you, too, 99%ers! On the worldwide scale, we’re all filthy rich.) We attend our programs, we accumulate spiritual wealth, but we never spend ourselves on the poor, the widow, the orphan. We may say we intend to pour out that which we’ve received and then never get around to it (similar to a hoarder who buys gifts for friends and family and yet never distributes them, only to contribute to the hoard.) So these beautiful things we are filling ourselves with eventually grow old, get covered in dust, rot away. The things which were once beautiful are beautiful no longer because they were not shared and given as God intended. Before we know it, we’re sitting in filth and we can’t figure out how we got here.
And beyond the spiritual hoard is a literal, physical hoard. Okay, it may not be bulging out of our doorways and covered in cockroaches (ew, I know), but we have way more than we need. Seriously. The worst part is, so many of us go into debt to have these things (I am a guilty party). We profess that we “need” them, but I think if we had only what we absolutely needed, our lives would be significantly stripped down. Yet somehow we’ve conned ourselves into thinking that computers, televisions and smartphones are all “needs”. These are luxuries and we ought to call them what they are. Don’t mishear me– I’m not saying having those things is wrong. But what I am saying is that they are not needs and we so often place them above the poor, the hungry, the lost and the suffering on our list of priorities.
We proclaim that we desperately desire to be like Jesus, but forget that he lacked even a place to lay his head (Matt. 8:20, Luke 9:58). We forget that Jesus spent his time with those outside the walls of the temple, those who the religious people would not associate with, and that He spoke good news of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation with God. We forget that He told us to go, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Katie Davis so simply put it, “Myself doesn’t want to be hungry.” If given the choice between clothing ourselves and clothing the naked, which would we choose? If given the choice between another overpriced restaurant dinner and feeding the hungry, which would we choose? If given the choice between a comfortable church service and an opportunity to share the gospel with someone, which would we choose? Are we adding to our earthly hoard, unwilling to let it go, or are we storing up for ourselves treasure in heaven? Because, friends, Hoarders is an excellent example of the fate of our earthly possessions. And Jesus told us, “…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal”.Are we ready to unload our hoard and allow Jesus to fill those newly emptied spaces of our lives? Are we willing to live with open hands and hearts instead of relapsing back into our hoarding tendencies?
Let’s surrender our hoard and invite Jesus in to help us restore what was once beautiful. We can’t do it alone. Jesus, help us.
Brittany Robles is a 26-year-old Vermonter turned New Yorker, living in Brooklyn with her brand new good-lookin’, Jesus-lovin’ husband, Adam. Brittany worships and serves with a church plant in Manhattan, Movement NYC (http://movementnyc.org). She fell in love with Ethiopia during her first missions trip there in 2009 and has returned twice since, and just recently returned from a church missions trip to El Salvador. Though a paralegal by trade, her real specialties are witty banter, loving orphans and baking delicious cupcakes. Brittany is a recovering “Martha” who relapses often and is thankful for Jesus and the abundant grace He bestows.