Many people are familiar with the TLC show, "Hoarding - Buried Alive" about people with hoarding problems. I have seen the show only a couple times and that was enough! I had a hard time stomaching it. I have also known people who have had problems with hoarding but not to that extreme. What is really hard is when you see people hoarding and putting away stuff they do not need but you know others could use those items for their very livelihood. I think the root of hoarding is fear. All these "things" they are holding onto give a false sense of security and sense of being in control. In reality however, all these things are controlling them.
I can kind of understand this and might have been inclined to hoard, especially baby items. Each time Tom and I planned to have another child however, I was always sure the next one would be a boy since the Lord promised me a boy before I ever had any children. I had no idea he would plan for us to have five girls before the boy he promised. I'm happy that it happened that way because I couldn't imagine life without any of my girls, but since I always thought my next child would be a boy, each time I gave all my baby girl clothes and baby gear away. What that taught me however is that God always provides. He doesn't just provide for the first child and then it is up to our good stewardship to provide for the rest. With each child I would even end up with better stuff than I had before. If I had held onto the old stuff, it would have gone out of style and turned yellow. At least this way they were able to be used by people that needed them at the time. I also currently belong to an amazing church community where a bunch of us rotate our maternity and baby clothes around to whomever needs them at the moment.
I think the passage about the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 addresses God's heart on the matter of hoarding. I can't imagine how he must feel as he sees all the people who are in need and then he sees others who have excess but do not even need the items they have. And then we have the nerve to ask God where he is when there is suffering in the world! In the parable of the talents, the "Master" gives more "talents" to the servants who multiplied their talents instead of burying them or packing them away and storing them in the attic.
I heard a powerful story once about Blessed Mother Teresa. One day she gave food to a very poor Muslim mother. Even though this woman was very poor and didn't have anything to feed herself or her children, she shared half of the food Mother Teresa gave her with her neighbor who was also very poor. This is what we are called to do.
This Lent, one thing I want to do is look in the plank in my own eye on the matter of hoarding. I know there are clothes in our closets and other items in our house that we are not using but perhaps someone else could use. I wonder how many bags of "talents" I can find around our house to give away to others?
Matthew 6:19-21 - “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."