Crap (Gk. skubala) Management
There is something in our sinful flesh that wants to accumulate material possessions (Lk 12:15). Like plaque in the blood system, one chokes out his life by hoarding stuff. The Bible teaches us that God is the Creator. He is the Maker of all things. Therefore, He is the owner of everything. He distributes according to His will, and redistributes as He wishes.
What we have been given should be employed for His purposes because in the end, we leave this world with nothing (1 Tim 6:7), or it all burns at the end of history (2 Pet 3:10–12). Therefore, technically, nothing has value that is anything other than for a temporary, practical purpose, or as an item to be transferred to another.
Giving is a great joy because the supplier is able to meet the needs of those who have not. Still, giving from our abundance can feed the hoarding tendency in some others (rich give to the rich). It is sometimes as much work finding the truly needy, as it is to distribute supply to them. This may be a grievous revelation to the poor, but distribution is an expensive proposition. Stop and consider the revolution we are living through in the retail industry, caused by advancing technology in distribution (e. g. Ebay; Amazon; etc.).
Christians should see themselves as conduits of God’s grace in Word and deed. If you have two coats, then one of them is for a neighbor in need (Lk 3:11). Hoarding is idolatry (Col 3:5). It is misplaced trust and a gross misevaluation of what is precious. Jesus taught us to store up our treasure in heaven and not on the earth (Mt 6:19–21).
There is nothing sinful about prospering as a Christian. Believers, like others, can succeed in business or reap an inheritance. That is not the test of discipleship, however. Faithful stewards minister what God entrusts to them to meet the needs of others (Lk 12:42). This, of course, can be material or spiritual. The need is great in both realms.
Faith operates in relationship to truth. With souls hurtling toward hell, it is a higher calling to care for souls. Still, Jesus took time to care for the physically disabled and to feed the poor (Jn 5, 6, 9, 11). In fact, because God is sovereign in all things, He has made us dependent in one way or another. This is so He would have one hundred percent of the credit for our salvation (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Jn 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rev 19:1).
There is no more accurate depiction of the Christian life than to see helpless people in the world (Mt 26:11; 1 Jn 3:17). Without God’s condescension and grace, we would be hopeless (Eph 2:12). The saint is in the privileged position of being a beggar himself, knowing where there is free bread supplied, as one has aptly mused and written.
Because God is a supplier of every good gift (Jas 1:17), it is our joy to minister that which belongs to Him. There is no doubt about God’s abundant supply, yet the god of this world is always promoting the lie of scarcity (2 Cor 4:4). The devil is a fear monger, who is ever telling us about how we will soon be running out of something that we never run out of.
Faith is exercised every time we give away some portion of our life (e. g. time; money; possessions; etc.). This is why Jesus teaches us that it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Receiving requires management; while giving is liberating. This is why there is wisdom in being content with what you have. That is easier said than done, because our sinful flesh is weak. We need grace from God to simplify our material/physical lives.
There is one exception to this reduction/simplification. We are encouraged to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet 3:18). Seeking first the kingdom of God (Mt 6:33) will hinder your accumulation of the world (1 Jn 2:15–17), and we have noted how beneficial this is to the Christian.
Consider the small church pastor, in contrast with the mega church pastor. If the pastor’s quest is the ministry of the knowledge of the truth, then, consider which man has more opportunity to study the Scriptures versus the management of organization structure and programs. Also, which suffers greater distractions? The mega church pastor would be wise to give a portion of the mega church away to other pastors to actually care for souls. The rarity of this exercise tells you much about hoarding, even in spiritual matters.
In all giving, one’s motive must be love for others. Otherwise, there is a temptation to give life away, in order to gain glory (pride). If Christians do not live to give, then, it may be the Lord’s prerogative to forcibly take from the hoarder-believer, in order to supply others, with no joy to accompany the believer’s reduction.
Christian, examine the Scriptures, and then examine yourself. Where is your heart in these matters? Where is your treasure? Remember, God’s economy prescribed for you…with food and clothing be content (1 Tim 6:8). Share from your abundance (Jas 2:14–16), knowing the sufficiency of Him who supplies your every need for life and for ministry (2 Cor 9:8; Phil 4:19).
Finally, feel the joy of knowing this world is not your home (Jn 18:36). Delight in the faith that you have been given (Rom 12:3; Phil 1:29), so that you may release that which has temporary value, for that which is precious for eternity (Phil 3:8). Don’t be the rich fool (Lk 12). Redeem the time of your vaporous life (Eph 5:16; Col 4:5; Jas 4:14), and give away your life (Gk. skubala = “crap”) that is no life. Lose that, and you will gain the real thing (Jn 14:6).
Spokane Valley, Washington
October 13, 2022