They collect and save everything, unable to let go. Their homes and lives are increasingly cluttered, often becoming a health hazard. Their relationships begin to break down, destroying their lives. They are referred to as "hoarders." Psychologists describe this mental disease as a variation of obsessive-compulsive disorder. A recent reality TV show has made this phenomenon widely known, following the lives of distraught families living in homes littered with stuff.
OBSESSED WITH THE MESS
There is no scientific evidence, but I wonder if hoarding is related to our society’s obsession with material objects. Shopping has become a favorite pastime, and many of us love to have things, most of which we don’t need. Yet, the bible teaches a different concept. In the parable of the talents, Jesus describes a rich man who went on a trip and entrusted parts of his fortune (talents) to three servants. The three servants were responsible for investing the talents, which didn’t belong to them. Upon his return, the master took account of the resources. Two invested, but one hoarded, ultimately costing him everything.
HOW TO BE A GOOD STEWARD
“Talents” can be understood in many ways. The most obvious is material resources, but we are also entrusted by God with our bodies, time, skills, and much more. Jesus teaches that, as stewards, we must give an account of how we handle our Master’s resources. But stewardship must be learned. Consider the following four questions to determine if you are being a good steward of God's resources.
Is the motivation for my material ambitions to gather more or serve God’s purposes?
There is nothing wrong with the desire to prosper or even to get rich. Money can be a great blessing, but it can also be a poison. It all depends on who we believe owns “our” money—us or God.
How much of my time is used for God’s purposes? Does God get my “precious time” or my “leftover time?”
Time management is an important aspect of leadership, organizing our lives according to priorities. As Christians, stewarding time is about organizing our lives according to God’s priorities.
Which skills am I developing? Am I learning them to help me serve God better or to satisfy my own ambitions?
Effective leaders are constantly learning. Those who are stewards of their literal talents are constantly equipping themselves to serve God.
How am I caring for my body? Am I helping extend my life or shorten it?
Good stewardship of our bodies is essentially doing all we can to live long, productive lives, which in turn will give us more time to serve God and others.
Learning to be a good steward is a lifelong journey. We can start by asking these probing questions. They will help us become better stewards and protect us from becoming useless servants.