In our men’s Bible study a few weeks ago, our leader mentioned the number of believers who are sitting on the gifts God gave them. They have capacities, they see problems their capacities could help solve, yet they sit on those capacities rather than using them.
The concept of hoarding came to my mind, making me think of the many churches that operate in the red despite the number of members they have, many of whom attend without giving. It also brought to mind the number of cities with lonely people in them, despite local congregations full of people with available time they’re unwilling to spend. It also reminded me of the members of the body of Christ who have deficits because other “body parts” refuse to give what they could.
Hoarders. You know the term, I’m sure. It describes people who compulsively hang onto items they don’t need but have an irrational fear of releasing. So their homes become cluttered beyond the functioning point, and onlookers gasp in disbelief as they see hoarders stack piles of useless items from floor to ceiling, leaving barely enough space to walk between rooms.
It’s a sickness, to be sure, and a terrible waste. Things that someone else could make use of are hoarded; a healthy lifestyle is choked out by the unused piles; and both the hoarder and the person who could benefit from the hoarded materials lose out.
But could the term “hoarder” apply to you and me as well? Let’s not shy away from asking ourselves if there are needs we see, or wrongs we lament, or projects we’d love for someone take up, all of which we wring our hands over, but then do nothing about.
Mind you, we all see more need than we could ever respond to, so simply seeing a problem doesn’t require being part of the practical solution. Still, I so often find that when I feel deeply about something, and have an idea what should be done about it, and wonder why nobody is doing it, it’s because that “something” is a something God’s drawn my attention to, giving me both the burden and the gifting to address it.
Paul said in Ephesians 4:12 that the gifts God has given to the church – apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists – are given for the building up of the body of Christ, so the Church might be strengthened for Her work. That tells me that we’re given certain capacities we’re called to use for the sake of empowering and completing the Body. One way to determine what those gifts might be is to look at the burden on your heart, the passion that keeps you up at night, and the opportunities you have to do something with that burden and passion.
As sure as you’re reading this, someone you know needs encouraging, that someone is on your heart, and your desire to put an arm around their shoulder won’t go away. Someone else needs a loving kick in the butt, and yours is just the foot to deliver it. Or there’s a project, ministry approach, or innovative idea that just won’t leave you alone, and instead of seeking ways to implement it, your ability to help is being hoarded, piling up in your soul, cluttering you and keeping its potential beneficiaries from the good it could do them.
Give a good listen to your own spirit today, and see if there’s not something being hoarded that needs to instead be released. The simple prayer, “Lord, is there something You’re calling me to that I’ve ignored?” is one He’ll be all too happy to answer. When His answer is clear, and in response your answer is “Here I am, Lord, send me”, then all of us benefit. Big time.