Be honest, do you live a “keep-it-just-in-case” life? If so, you probably think of yourself as thrifty, but this rent-more-storage- mentality can come at a high price.
Because some people are so reluctant to depart with anything, their life is a huge, messy, and disorganized existence. The International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation calls attention to this troublesome lifestyle by calling it hoarding and listing three criteria that defines it:
- A person collects and keeps a lot of items, even things that appear useless or of little value to most people, and
- These items clutter the living spaces and keep the person from using their rooms as they were intended, and
- These items cause distress or problems in day-to-day activities.
There is a classification of non-typical hoarders who are referred to as Bibliotaphs. Their compulsion is to cache or hoard books, and they may even keep them under the security of lock and key.
From a Biblical perspective, the Bibliotaph can be thought of as being healthy. This is true in the limited sense of the Bible being memorized or hidden in your heart. David confessed to being a Bibliotaph, and Joshua encouraged people to practice it as a discipline:
- Psalm 119:9-11: How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
- Joshua 1:8: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Clinging to the world’s goods will never fill the void in your soul, so avoid them and add God’s blessings instead. Solomon gave this piece of advice that’s worth hoarding:
My son, do not forget my teaching. Let your heart keep my words. For they will add to you many days and years of life and peace. Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them upon your heart. So you will find favor and good understanding in the eyes of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding. Agree with Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:1-6 NLV)
A Southern Gospel Revival is a band that I like. Ben Hester sings and plays guitar for this group, and he gives a fine performance of the song In the Sweet By and By.
As I was listening to this song this morning, it reminded me of an incident at the Kansas State Fair. I was watching a demonstration and closely listening to the fine-honed monologue of the salesman. As he finished his demonstration, he displayed a toothy grin and waved to us saying: “This is the end of our demonstration, so I want to say “bye-bye,” and I want to thank you for coming. Bye now!”
His use of the word “bye” was a clever display of linguistics and the subtle use of a homophone. On one level the crowd was thinking: “Gee what a nice man to say good-bye like that.” On another level, however, his message was, “I want to say buy-buy . . . buy my product now!”
I had a similar experience at the Home Show. There was a booth touting the warm feeling of fleece and the benefits of wool, and they even had a little pen with a ewe and her lambs. I smiled when I heard the salesman say: “Every ewe here knows how important it is to keep her babies warm.” The message he was sending was not focused on the “ewes” but the “yous” in the crowd—“You mothers want to keep your babies warm, so buy this fleece blanket.”
When Paul wrote to the Christians at Rome, he warned them of linguistics and liars and of people who would use “smooth words and flattering speech to deceive the hearts of the simple (Romans 16:18).” This verse has also been rendered as “enticing words” and “pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.”
I don’t have anything to sell, and I’m sending only one message: Bye for now, and take a minute or two to listen to In The Sweet By and By.
For a brief period of my professional life I was involved in sales. As part of my training, the company sent me to a week-long school to introduce me to the finer points of salesmanship.
Throughout the training, one phrase was emphasized time and time again: The advantage to you is . . . After making that statement to the prospective client, I would finish the sentence by highlighting the distinguishing characteristics of the product I was selling.
From a Christian perspective, you can complete the phrase several ways. The advantage to you is that by becoming a Christian, you can:
• Know Jesus as your Savior
• Be assured of a home in Heaven
• Find comfort in His Word
• Depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance
• Be reassured and find strength through prayer
• Have hope even in times of sorrow
Most viewpoints have both a positive and negative side to the argument. The real “advantage” can be understood sometimes by also considering the negative side: How would my life be different if I did not have a personal relationship with Jesus?
What are the positives and negatives of your life, and what are the advantages you’ve discovered?