From Hoarder to LifeVestor

by Andy Wood on May 16, 2008

in Five LV Laws, Hoarders, Life Currency, Love, LV Alter-egos, Money, Principle of Increase, Time

Hoarding MoneyHoarding’s back. 

I’m sure it never went away, but it’s been back in the news over the last month.  Banks are hoarding money.  People worldwide are hoarding rice.  Myanmar officials and residents are warned about hoarding aid.

People are scared, and when they’re scared, they hoard.  OR, somebody else hoards and looks to make a killing off the really scared people.

In a previous post, I mentioned that there are four alter-egos to LifeVestors – consumers, hoarders, gamblers, and codependents.  Hoarders are the most unique of these.  While consumers live as if there is no tomorrow, hoarders live as if there is a tomorrow, and wherever/whatever it is, it’s gonna be ticked off.  Hard.  Terrible.  And we have to plan for it today.

It’s one thing for literally starving people to make sure they have something to eat for the next few days.  It’s another to live with a spirit of fear, even while you’re being wonderfully blessed.

It’s one thing to save and invest for retirement or a rainy day.  It’s another thing to create an ongoing bunker mentality based on fear of the future.

Hoarders avoid risk at all cost.  They avoid spending any more than necessary.  They have no time, no money, no love to give.  Many hoarders have inherited a spirit of poverty through a profoundly stressful experience.  Have you ever listened to someone who lived through the Great Depression, or grew up “dirt poor”?  Sometimes, though their circumstances have changed greatly, their perceptions haven’t.  Others become relationship hoarders because they were betrayed by someone they trusted.  They’ve decided that love, friendship, and trust are too risky. 

Jesus gave a great example of a hoarding mentality in his story of the talents.  In the story, a wealthy man entrusts varying amounts of money – “talents,” worth about $250,000 -$500,000 apiece in today’s currency – to three servants to manage.  Two servants did well, doubling their master’s money. 

The other was a hoarder.  Check out his reasoning:  “I knew you were a hard man, and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned, so I hid your money in the earth and here it is!” (Matthew 25:24, LB).  Now there’s something every boss wants to hear!

Hoarders aren’t thieves or consumers.  They’re counterfeit investors.  Like investors, hoarders have an eye on the future.  But more like that reluctant servant, they base their decisions on fear of the future and a false view of God.  It’s not that they do bad things – they don’t do anything at all.  In an effort to avoid risk, they avoid everything.  Jesus described them tersely:  “wicked and lazy.”  Ouch!

In the business world and in the Kingdom of God, increase comes from putting money to work, through investing and through giving.  In the relationship realm, growth and love come from taking the risk to reach out with a giving heart to others.  In time management, increase comes from a do-it-now mentality, and a willingness to share your time with others.  These are acts of sowing that produce a harvest. 

The deception of hoarding is that by doing nothing you’re avoiding consumption and borrowing.  In truth, you’re only avoiding risk and decisions.  Ecclesiastes 5:13 (NIV) says, “There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver.”  That’s not just true of money – it’s true of every commodity in your life.

So what’s the solution?  How does somebody go from hoarder to LifeVestor?

1.  Get rid of stuff. 
Hoarders of money and time tend to be packrats, too.  Lose it.  Give it away.  Have a mondo garage sale where “everything must go.” Or, (egads!) toss it in the dumpster. 

2.  Buy insurance.
No, you can’t insure against every contingency, but do the basics – life, health, property.  Quit trying to be your own insurer.  (I heard about a church treasurer years ago that insisted the church keep $100,000 in the bank “just in case the roof blew off.”  Yes, the church had insurance.  They just needed a different treasurer – preferably one who had actually been somewhere like Myanmar.)

3.  Decide why you’re saving in the first place. 
The difference between saving and hoarding is that saving is for a (real!) purpose.   Hoarding is based on fear.

4.  Give something away.
Give your money to God and the poor.  Give your time to those who need your help.  Hang out with young children and give them your undivided attention.

5.  Pay people appropriately so they can prosper.
In your business, ministry, or personal affairs, pay people appropriately so they can prosper.  Come on, Ebenezer!  Stop being a tightwad with salaries or services – especially in the name of God!  Pay people what they’re worth.

6.  Get spiritual or professional help.
People who are trained in helping others with a spirit of fear or obsessive-compulsive hoarding can help those who just can’t stop.  Don’t lose out on the joy of being a LifeVestor because of a spirit of fear.

7.  Look to Jesus Christ as your ultimate example.
In his book Addiction and Grace, Gerald May, points out that instead of hoarding His divine attributes, God wanted to share them through a relationship with humanity.  Jesus Christ, instead of hoarding his equality with God, took on flesh, and dwelt among us.  He risked giving His all on people who at the time despised and rejected Him.  As a result, He is Lord of the dead and the living, and all who receive Him become children of God.

If the God of heaven could take a risk on the likes of you and me, don’t you think you take a risk that He holds tomorrow?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

carissa May 16, 2008 at 3:07 pm

i liked this! it’s a good check on my own attitudes when as a student i feel tapped out of resources and options. it also reminded me of someone in my life who i think lives very much in fear of the future… maybe i’ll share with her.

casper June 16, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Great article but I wish you wouldn’t encourage people to throw their stuff in the dumpster. Recycle, donate, garage sale, sure. But our landfills are overflowing and so much of the stuff people would dispose will take forever to disintigrate. We also ship our excess garbage to other countries, causing such horrible global warming that the kids can’t even go out to play during school brakes. Reuse, reduce, recycle.

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