I have seen a grievous evil under the sun: wealth hoarded to the harm of its owner.
His name is Lonnie. When the cameras first enter his home, Lonnie is all smiles. Lonnie is the owner of a massive collection of Las Vegas memorabilia, and he is proud of it. His inventory of artifacts is so large that it fills three large buildings—including his own house. Neon signs, clothing from famous performers, giant statues—Lonnie has it all and more.
Several minutes into Lonnie’s tour, you sense that all is not well. During the tour, Lonnie’s wife, Sandy, comes along. Sandy is quiet and pleasant but also clearly troubled. In time, the truth comes out. After years of feeding his impulse to hoard, Lonnie has put them in debt. Even worse, his passion for collecting has begun to dominate everything else—even his family relationships.
It might be easy to dismiss Lonnie as an eccentric and to congratulate ourselves for not being so over-the-top. But let’s think again. True, few of us have three buildings filled with all things Vegas. However, perhaps, I am guilty of hoarding too. In other words, perhaps I’m guilty of taking something that’s fine in and of itself but hoarding it to such a degree that it twists my priorities. For example, I may hoard a favorite hobby, my children’s athletic schedules and dance classes, my weekends, movies on Netflix, or money.
As God’s Word warns in Ecclesiastes chapter five, anything of this world—even something that’s good in and of itself—anything of this world that I hoard will bring me harm. It will bring harm because such a hoard will put distance between my Savior and myself.
But Jesus does not abandon me to my sinful impulses. Instead, he pursues me, calls me to repentance, and embraces me in his gospel. He assures me that, through faith in the blood shed for me on Calvary’s cross, I am forgiven; and I am his. He refreshes me to remember that life is not what I hoard in this world. Rather, my life is Christ.
Lord Jesus, my life is not what I hoard. My life is you. Help me remember this. Amen.