Hoarding is an obsessive-compulsive behavior of acquiring different things in large volumes, while failing to throw away things of little or no value. Television shows document examples of people with voluminous stacks of magazines, newspapers, artwork, clothing, and just plain junk that residents literally cannot walk freely in their homes. Many people are “pack rats” displaying similar characteristics, but hoarding rises to a level of excessive extreme. In many cases, a hoarder’s passion for possessions consumes their lives, personal space, and relationships.
While speaking to His disciples, the Lord Jesus Christ told them, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt…But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…” (Matthew 6:19-20). There were several reasons for this instruction to His apostles. In the past, God miraculously provided manna for Israel’s daily need for food in their wilderness wanderings. Christ required His apostles to trust that He once again would provide supernaturally for them in the days ahead, through the years of tribulation, and into the Millennium. He explained that earthly riches are often corrupted by moth or rust, and stolen by thieves. Instead of these fleeting riches, the Savior wanted His followers to be living and serving Him so that they would have secure riches in the figurative vaults of heaven. He further explained, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (vs. 21). If their true riches were in heaven, their hearts would be fixed on living for Christ. But if their primary treasures were on earth, these would capture their affection and devotion. Moreover, whether choosing Him or the riches of earth as their “master,” they would love the one and hate the other (6:24). Therefore, the Lord Jesus was urging them to make serving Him the primary focus of their lives.
While these instructions and promises had exclusive fulfillment to Jews under the Law in the tribulation and Millennium, there is a basic principle that applies to us in a secondary sense. We, too, must be careful not to be consumed by hoarding earthly treasures. Paul warns believers today, “No man that warreth (for the Lord) entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (II Timothy 2:4). Make the Lord Jesus your true master, love Him above earthly gain, and “lay up in store”(I Timothy 6:19) a wealth of eternal riches through a life of genuine faithfulness to Christ.
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