Tuesday, January 17, 2012

HOARDERS

So then, as Christians, do you have any encouragement? Do you have any comfort from love? Do you have any spiritual relationships? Do you have any sympathy and compassion? Then fill me with joy by having the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind. Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others. Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
 
 Although he was in the form of God and equal with God,
      he did not take advantage of this equality.
 Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant,
      by becoming like other humans,
      by having a human appearance.
 He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
      death on a cross.
 This is why God has given him an exceptional honor—
      the name honored above all other names—
       so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth,
            and in the world below will kneel
             and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord
      to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:1-11, GW)


Reality television is a big hit these days.  Just as soap operas and sitcoms used to dominate the airwaves, this genre of video entertainment can be found on virtually every network in various forms.  My 9 year old fancies animal shows like "Hillbilly Hand Fishin'" and "Call of the Wildman" while my husband fixates on "Pawn Stars" and "American Pickers".  Although I'm not much into that sort of entertainment, I have caught a few glimpses as I pass through the room.  However, the one production that both vexes me and literally eats a hole in my stomach is "Hoarders".

Everything in this show screams of the utterly hopeless depravity of man.  Episode after episode shares the stories of people avoiding the truth at all costs.  Behaviors that shout "mine" and an unnatural attachment to stuff are on full display.  And buildings once filled with boundless blessings have become squalor infested and rotting.

Repugnant as this may be, too many of us Christians are also hoarders, but with our dysfunction hidden within.  We are spiritual gluttons.  We feast on good books, Bible studies, sermons and fellowship.  But we use the excuses of being too busy, being in a place of need or being justified in merely wanting to live as the rest of our middle class culture does in order to avoid sharing with others.  We receive our comfort and become comfortable rather than becoming comforters.  Sadly, we put our light under a basket.  (See Matthew 5:14-16)

As this particular cable television show progresses from discovery of the individual's problem, things that were once useful get thrown away.  Items that could have been a blessing to someone else have sat unsegregated from the garbage for so long that they too have become rubbish.  It is an absolute shame.

Our spiritual blessings are no less similar.  How many times we could have blessed someone walking a similar journey or with our understanding of difficulty, yet we kept those gifts to ourselves.  We lose the ability to discern truth from lies and become toxic to ourselves as well as those near us.

In all honesty, all of us could do with some serious spiritual housecleaning.  Why not start today?  Look for ways you can serve rather than being served.  Identify your spiritual gifts by reflecting on some of the big lessons in life God has taught you.  Then pray for the Lord to bring people into your life who need to hear how He has worked in you.  He will faithfully answer that prayer!

We are filled up to be poured out, friend.  Praising God for your abundant blessings is good.  But being the conduit to bless another is definitely intended to be part of the continuum.  Don't find yourself on the ash heap of your life, ashamed of what you have let deteriorate.  Live out the purpose God intended for you today!


Pray:  Father, I know my life is not my own, yet I live it as if I'm deserving of being a god myself.  Forgive me, Lord.  Help me to pass on the abundant blessings you have shared with me.  May the generosity of my life reflect Your goodness to everyone I come into contact with.

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