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What’s the Difference Between Saving and Hoarding?

by Guest on September 6, 2011

My kids have all the food, clothing, shelter, and toys they need, and even more of what they want.

How and why did this come to be?  Do they go out and buy it all themselves?

Of course not, their loving parents provided them with everything. In the same way, God provides everything for us by His grace.

Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.”

How strongly do we implement this verse in our lives? We have to realize that EVERYTHING is from our creator, including what is in our bank account, our homes, and in our investments.

Whether we save or hoard, it’s still God’s money.  So let’s take a look at the difference between saving and hoarding by asking two questions:

What is our Motivation with Our Money?

I still have many art supplies from when I was an art major in college. I’ve given most of those supplies to my kids as part of our reward system.

Drawing is among the favorite activities in the house.

Let’s pretend I ask my 9 year old daughter if I can use the colored pencils I gave her. Before she answers me, she weighs her feelings on the matter.

She thinks to herself, “I was planning on using those to draw a pretty picture for my room. What if she uses them until they are nubs, or what if she breaks them? Maybe she won’t even return them at all! What if she wants to make my brother a pretty picture and not something for me?!”

Given all of these concerns, she tells me no.

What does that say about her feelings for the colored pencils? What does that say about her relationship with me? Did I not give those to her? Could I not easily provide new ones? Does she really NEED colored pencils to survive or are they just making life a bit more comfortable? What if she had hid them from me so I couldn’t use them? How selfish is her response?

Now let’s pretend she tells me yes (which is definitely the more likely scenario, given the kind-hearted, people-pleaser she is). She might even have those same concerns, but she trusts me enough to use them. She understands they were not hers to begin with.

How often do we have these same concerns with our money or our possessions?

What is the Purpose of Our Money?

When you save money or possessions, what is the purpose? How closely are you holding onto them? Your answers will indicate if you are saving or hoarding.

The acts of saving and hoarding both involve storing up. With hoarding, however, there is a sense of hiding and secrecy, selfishness. It’s the idea of possessing something, and lacking the intention of sharing or giving some of it. If our children were acting that way, we’d likely want to talk to them about being selfish or feeling entitled.

Jesus preaches,

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11).

We think we need to save for emergencies or because we want to plan a family vacation. Those desires are not wrong at all; it’s wise financial planning!

But when we encounter a circumstance where it is really God asking us to give out of that savings, how quickly do we trust him? Are we being misers with what we have saved and hoarding it, even though, without God,  we wouldn’t have it in the first place?

Let’s make sure to rid ourselves of these selfish desires when we save. As followers of Christ, we need to realize that possessions, comfort, security, power, etc., is not what draws us closer to God.

When Jesus returns, how will you answer when he asks you, “What did you do with what you stored? Did you reach my kingdom? Did you trust me when I told you to use it?”

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