Are You a Pack Rat?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt. 6:19-21

Gratitude is a powerful thing. It shapes our attitude and our approach to life. More than ever, Louise and I are so thankful for our faith, our health, our family, and our abilities to be used of God in full-time ministry. Our gratitude makes us want to share our blessings with others. Our family has been blessed by both giving and receiving, and I think it’s by far more fun to give. It’s really a blessing to be able to give to folks who least expect it at a time when they really need it!

I’m reminded of a story Charles Osgood reported on once while he was with CBS radio:

“Mrs. Bertha Adams, 71 years old, died alone in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Easter Sunday. The coroner’s report read: ‘Cause of death: malnutrition.’ She had wasted away to fifty pounds.

When the state authorities made their preliminary investigation of Mrs. Adams’ home, they found a veritable ‘pigpen…the biggest mess you can imagine.’ The woman had begged food from neighbors’ back doors and gotten what clothing she had from the Salvation Army. From all outward appearances, she was a penniless recluse. But such was not the case.

Amid the jumble of her unclean, disheveled belongings, the officials found two keys to safe-deposit boxes at two different local banks. In the first box were over 700 AT&T stock certificates, plus hundreds of other valuable certificates, bonds, and solid financial securities, not to mention a stack of cash amounting to nearly $200,000. The second box contained $600,000. Adding the net worth of both boxes, they found well over a million dollars.”

Osgood concluded that the estate would probably go to a distant niece and nephew, neither of whom dreamed she had a thin dime to her name.

Don’t you wonder about this woman? Why would anyone deprive themselves of food or not helping others in need? Frankly, I don’t get it. I believe Bertha Adams wasn’t saving her money; she was worshiping it…hoarding it…gaining a perverted satisfaction out of watching the stacks grow higher, as she shuffled along the streets wearing the garb of a beggar. Perhaps it’s easy to be critical, but are many of us much better? How many of us are pack-rats—saving all that stuff “just in case”? How many coats, blankets, shovels, or bikes does a person need? How many sweaters get pushed to the back of the closet, along with the extra shoes?

I’m convinced that it is important to save, to be a wise steward of God’s money, to invest in the future, and to properly manage our funds. Being thrifty is admirable, but I have trouble finding one word of scriptural support for being a tightwad!

Show me a Christian who has a grateful heart, and I’ll show you a generous, fulfilled, joyful person who has a vision for Kingdom work. Let’s embrace the power of gratitude…and give!

The Power of Truth:

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Prov. 11:25

Suggestion for Prayer:

Thank God for all your blessings.